Tens of thousands of drivers pass under a Union Pacific rail bridge tagged with a big, blocky exhortation as they travel southbound on Interstate 45 every day.
“Be Someone,” it says.
It first appeared more than a decade ago. It’s been painted over with other graffiti multiple times, but “Be Someone” has always reappeared. The message resonates in Houston, a freewheeling city with no zoning and an entrepreneurial spirit that attracts people from all over the world looking to make their bones. It has inspired photos, tattoos and even a failed Change.org petition to protect it as a city landmark.
Keaton Jones, a 27-year-old rapper who goes by the name Lowkea, drives under the bridge on his way to work at his dad’s industrial-supply company in downtown Houston.
“It says so little, just two words,” Jones said. “It’s very powerful. It tells you to be someone, not just anybody.”
And just who is that someone who first painted the slogan? That’s an enduring mystery that has only gotten juicier in the past few months.
That's what's needed, don't you see? That! Nothing else matters half so much. To reassure one another. To answer each other. Perhaps only you can listen to me and not laugh. Everyone has, inside himself ... what shall I call it? A piece of good news! Everyone is ... a very great, very important character! Yes, that's what we have to tell them up there! Every man must be persuaded - even if he is in rags - that he's immensely, immensely important!