Florida Keys News
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
On a mission to promote positivity
Optimism enthusiasts' message: This is a Good Sign

It may not replace the ubiquitous smiley face, but Key West promoters of a diamond-shaped sign with the legend "THIS IS A GOOD SIGN" say they've already got a leg up, that their ode to positivity is growing globally.

"When I first saw it, a light bulb went on and I saw a lot more than a sign on a piece of paper," said John Curry, a 34-year-old landscaper who has been marketing the sign in Key West and throughout the world. The approach is fairly simple. When a performer is at a Key West venue and the music is good, one of the signs is placed on the stage and given to him or her. Photographs are taken and the performers take the sign with them on future travels, introducing more people in more places to the concept.

Eric Dennis, a Michigan native who lives in St. Augustine, said the meaning of the sign is as deep as beholders wish it to be, for as long as they wish it to be seen.

"When you see that, whatever is supposed to happen to you happens naturally," Dennis said. "It is a very organic form of truth, a reflection of yourself when you see it, your current mood, your current situation."

John Schnoer, 38-year-old chef at The Wharf Bar and Grill on Summerland Key, has been working closely with Curry to spread the word about the signs. To him, the message transcends anything he has seen on a bumper sticker when it comes to positive affirmation, even Key West's revered "One Human Family" slogan, developed by J.T. Thompson.

Assisting with the project, Schnoer said, is a choice that has led him in a positive direction as he gets older.

"As I have been approaching middle age, I have been asking if I am doing something of value that has quality to it," he said. "If I can't attach that sign to anything I am doing in my life, then maybe I shouldn't be doing it."

There is no profit motive attached to the movement, Dennis said, although there is the potential in the future for some licensing. But for now, that's not part of the plan. The Green Parrot Bar in Key West is among the venues where the sign has made its appearance and been well-received by crowds.

The movement's website, www.thisisagoodsign.com, says the idea is to spread "an uplifting and fun message of encouragement while inspiring people to infuse their perspectives with hope and positivity."

"When you carry a Good Sign or wear a piece of our gear, you will be a walking inspiration to others," the site says. "You will experience the Good Sign effect firsthand. People will engage you, take your picture and you will meet more like-minded people. ... We are reconnecting the world one Good Sign at a time."

The site offers free copies of the sign and encourages distribution.

The wording evolved as Dennis tried to figure out what would be the best, most positive message that could be shared with people on a sign. He told his brother, with whom he was discussing the matter, that whatever it was, it had to be a really good sign."

Thus the concept "THIS IS A GOOD SIGN" was born.

jdesantis@keysnews.com

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