Today is Morrissey’s birthday so there’s probably no better time than now to revisit one of the mysteries of my youth.
For a while I still lived on Long Island I attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook; known locally as just Stony Brook. It was and is a good school but my lasting memory of it has nothing to do with academics or extracurricular activities and everything to do with The Smiths.
At the main entrance to the school there was a glacial boulder that, in my memory, was as large as a house. It was a convenient landmark for giving directions as in “When you get to the rock, make a left”, but outside of that it didn’t hold any special significance until some bold soul had an idea.
Sometime in the late 80’s some unknown music lover scaled the giant rock and spray painted “THE SMITHS” in letters big enough to be seen from the road as you passed the school. How someone scaled the rock and painted this without being noticed is a mystery to me and apparently it was a mystery to campus maintenance because the paint stayed there for so long (it was still there in the late 90’s) the boulder became known locally as Smiths Rock.
I would love to know who was responsible so I could thank them.