People call it green neon, which is just stupid. It’s argon. Totally different gas. Well, not totally different. Argon and neon are both noble gases, obviously. But neon glows reddish orange. That green, it’s argon. We went with green because you can see it from farther away than you can red. It has to do with the wavelengths. Look it up.
When we first installed the lights, in 1985, it took me and the boys three months to hang them. It’s about 2 miles of lights, total. Bank of America Plaza is 72 stories, 921 feet. But it was worth it. They sent out the TV news trucks and everything. Still proud of that one. Nothing crazy like that disco crap on the Omni. Just crisp green along the edges. Classy.
I’m not one of those guys who takes down his lights right after Christmas. That first year, we didn’t take them down till January 6. It’s 12 days of Christmas, right? That’s the way I was taught. You take down the lights in preparation for the Epiphany. That’s the 6th. And taking down all those lights? Total bitch. When you’re putting them up, they’re coming right out of the box, all neat and orderly. Coming down? They’re a mess. We had these plastic bins that we got at The Container Store, but once I got all the bins put away in the garage, there was no room left for our cars. The wife was pissed.
That second year, I decided not to take them down again. Didn’t care if the neighbors called us tacky for leaving them up year-round. Those jokers at Fountain Place? Who are they to complain? Give me a break. Everyone in the neighborhood knows they went into receivership back during the S&L crisis. No disrespect, but Fountain Place can suck it.
You know those light hooks with the adhesive backing? That’s what we used. With all that glass, you can’t use nails. I had to go back to Home Depot three times to buy more hooks. Made the right call on the ladder, though. You’re thinking, “Man, I really don’t want to spend all that money on the 60-footer. Maybe we can get by with the 24.” Trust me: get the 60-footer.
Which brings me to the big news. You’ve probably read in the paper that I’m replacing the argon with LEDs. The tower is dark now, and the boys and I won’t be finished till sometime in early November. Learned my lesson with the hooks. This time I did the math first. You figure we will need 10,572 feet of lights. The 50-count box of LEDs stretches to 17 feet. That’s 620 boxes, give or take, at $13.99 per. Won’t be cheap. Once you get some more hooks and everything, we’re talking nine grand, easy.
But if that’s what it takes to get the Nasher off our backs, then fine. We tried hiring Mike Snyder to do his sock puppet thing in the comments sections of the blogs and news sites. That’s what he’s been doing since he left Channel 5. He comes up with a bogus name, makes a Facebook account for it, and then tries to sway public opinion by posting gas-baggy comments about all the “research” he has done, as a concerned citizen that supports Museum Tower. I mean, just begging the Morning News to embarrass you on the front page of the Sunday paper for being an incompetent goofball. But our lawyer told us to do it.
Anyway, that didn’t work. Big surprise. And Jeremy Strick at the Nasher would not let up. I don’t know how his wife puts up with that guy, the way he nags. “Oh, no, the museum is fine. Your green light makes the galleries look lovely at night. Did Picasso sculpt 'Head of a Woman' with the intention that it be bathed in argon light? No. But what did Picasso know? He was a Spaniard!” On and on.
So we agreed to take down the argon tubes, keep it dark for a few months. Joke’s on him, though. Because we’re putting up every color of the rainbow.