Journalist Pays Tribute to ‘Happy Foot/Sad Foot Sign’

Salon co-founder Laura Miller has an entertaining look today at the unlikely impact of the so-called “Happy Foot/Sad Foot Sign”, a two-sided rotating call for business that sits atop the Foot Clinic at 2711 West Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Never mind that local residents with a view of the sign take the first side they see as a potential harbinger of the day ahead. Banner respect has now moved to the pages of several impressive works of fiction:

The Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign became better known to readers outside the Los Angeles area when it appeared in Jonathan Lethem‘s 2007 novel, You Don’t Love Me Yet… The sign also appears to have inspired a passage in The Pale King, the final, unfinished novel by the late David Foster Wallace, published last month.

Wallace relocates the sign to Chicago and changes its appearance somewhat, so that one side depicts the name and telephone number of the podiatry clinic while the other features “a huge colored outline of a human foot.”

There is an Eels song about the not-always-rotating landmark (“Sad Foot Sign”) and, as the article reminds, Beck is also rumored to be a worshipper.