Heiner’s marquee entertaining Ogden’s north end more than 30 years
OGDEN — Not some fly-by-night, time-and-temperature advertising billboard, the Heiner’s Insurance Center marquee is a publishing effort now in its 33rd year.
A four-generation tradition at 606 Washington Blvd., the Heiner family of insurance brokers have been coming up with fresh-printed wit and wisdom, quip and quote, twice a week or more since 1990.
The offerings range from homily (“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light”) to the acerbic (“Remember when I asked for your opinion? Yeah, me either”).
For a family with pioneer roots, Heiners helped settle Morgan County, some billboards can push the envelope.
Shawn Heiner, principal broker and owner of the firm, recalled one billboard — “If you sneeze and fart at the same time, does your body take a screenshot?” — that ruffled some feathers
“Someone called and said they were disappointed that we would put something up with the word fart,” he said.
“We got in trouble for that one,” added Chris Heiner, Shawn’s son and the company’s vice president. “That and the cremation one.”
The cremation one, as it was called, read “Cremation — my last chance for a smoking hot body.” Shawn also got some feedback for taking a shot at lawyers. “Litigators are alligators,” he recalled. “An attorney’s wife called and said ‘Lawyers have to get insurance too.'”
There’s also the metaphysical: “Fact may not be truth and truth may not be factual.” And degrees of the philosophical: “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you,” and “I’ve got no soul to sell.”
But mostly it’s quippy fun. “We’ve had a lot of laughs and many people thank us for making them smile,” Shawn Heiner said. “Or that they were having a bad day, but the quote on the sign changed things for the better.”
He and Chris are responsible for most of the postings, found in books, movies, the internet, every day conversation and, every once in a while, courtesy of a customer.
More favorites of the family include:
- “Life is a soup and I’m a fork.”
- “I’m too cheap to pay attention.”
- “If you can’t change your mind, you’re not using it.”
- “Out of all the lies I’ve told, just kidding is my favorite.”
- “Not to spoil the ending, but everything’s going to be okay.”
- “Yes officer, I did see the speed limit sign. I just didn’t see you.”
- “If you eat yeast at night, and shoe polish in the morning, you will rise and shine.”
One area the family stays away from are political jokes or comments. “We try to avoid all that,” Chris Heiner said. “We don’t want to get too controversial.”
Which made their July 4 offering, at first, startling: “Treason is the reason for the season.”
Advocating calamity? Departed the high ground for the ultra far right? The message on the other side — you always get two on the Heiner marquee, one on the north side and one on the south — clarified: “Too cool for British rule.” That was historical, not political, according to Chris.
“About as close as we get to political was ‘George Washington is the only president not to blame the previous administration.’ Or ‘A penny saved is a government oversight.’ That’s one of my personal favorites. We got a lot of favorable response,” he said.
There’s also tradition. The permanent inscription “We pay for ashes and crashes” on the sign came from Calvin Heiner, Shawn’s now-retired father.
It all started with Heber J. Heiner Jr., Shawn’s grandfather and company founder, who is believed to have come up with first quip, likely still new in 1990: “Never squat with your spurs on.” They rerun that one every Pioneer Day in honor of the company patriarch.
And in conclusion, more favorites from the company marquee:
- “What’s left unsaid says it all.”
- “God, give me patience. But hurry.”
- “Don’t give up. Moses was a basket case too.”
- “No trespassing. We’re tired of hiding the bodies.”
- “Never laugh at your wife’s choices. You’re one of them.”
- “Slow runners make fast runners look good. You’re welcome.”