Signs to Ponder
By: Wayne Brown
In our daily lives, we receive a constant barrage of instructions in both written and visual formats. Some of them are highly active warnings requiring reciprocal actions on our part indicating that we understand. Others are more passive and are observed by us in a more unconscious fashion as for example the stop sign at the next intersection. Signs employ words and symbols in an attempt to protect a fool from himself which in and of itself is an impossible task. But for some reason, the effort to protect the fool continues so much so that the signs used sometimes confuse the sane folks in the tribe. I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss some signs I have observed that either tickled my funny bone, caused me to do something stupid, or just plain out totally confused me.
One sign that I found rather confusing was a road sign that warned “Caution – This Sign Has Sharp Edges – Do Not Touch This Sign”. Now that’s a weird sign and you have to wonder why anyone would put up a sign just to alert the reader to the hazards of the sharp edges of the sign. Why not, duh…just not put up the sign? Well it turns out that the sign was necessary but one had to read the small print down at the bottom of it that stated “also the bridge ahead is out!”. Now, I’m laughing because it dawns on me that the very fool who would not notice a large sign stating that the bridge was out and drives off in the river is the small fool that will stop and read every word of this one. I know I did!
I saw an international sign although I do not know to which country it was associated. It was not funny per se but apparently the subject matter that it dealt with must have been funny for it eventually led to the erection of this warning sign. The sign said, “Warning To Tourists – Do Not Laugh At The Natives”. Now I don’t know about you but when I read a sign like this I start to envision a large black pot steeped with tourists sitting atop of a large fire with natives encircling it just watering at the mouth for the pot to start boiling. The witch doctor waves his magic stick and tells the tourist in his bogla-bogla language, “We told you not to laugh”. Buddy, that’s when I start closing my eyes when the natives come around because I don’t want to accidentally see anything that might be funny and cause me to burst out with laughter. The old witch doctor just might toss my butt in the pot.
I saw this warning label on a 55-gallon drum that stated: “Warning: Jumping Into A Barrel of Toxic Waste Will Not Give You Super Powers – It May Affect Your Health!” Well, I guess I’ll have to give that up. I might as well fold my “Green Glow-Man” cape and put it in a drawer. Actually, I am just kidding. How stupid do you have to be to sit around trying to think of something to do to entertain yourself for a while only to realize that there is that drum of toxic waste out back that you have not yet gone for a long soak in to relax your bones and invigorate your senses. Think about it like this, if they wanted you skinny-dipping in it, the drum would come with a diving board and a rope swing. Of course there is always the fool who does not assign any credibility to the warning, goes soaking in the waste, then immediately climbs up a five story building and jumps off to test his new super powers and show those folks down at the toxic waste sticker factory.
The Newcastle Transway Authority has signs in their transway warning those who come here, wherever “here” is: “Warning – Touching The Wires Causes Instant Death – Fine $200”. Well, that cuts most of us out of attempting that trick. I mean who’s got that kind of money to be tossing around to pay fines? Then there is always the fool who concludes, “Bullcrap, they got to catch me first before I’m paying any fine” and proceeds to grab the wires. That one kind of reminds me of the last words of a redneck: “Here, hold my beer and watch this!”
Then I saw a funny one: “Warning: Children Left Unattended Will Be Sold To The Circus”. Now where would you see that one I wondered, Wal-Mart possibly? Then the more I thought about it, the more this sign made sense and I realized there was no humor here, no brag, this was fact. These folks were serious. Now I understand why there are so many young circus performers. Why they trained from the time they are mere children and probably grow up never knowing who their real parents are. Of course there is always that fool mother who sees the sign and heads out to find the manager only to tell him that she has no idea where her children are right now but he better not sell them to the damn circus or she will sue his ass until the cows come home. See, I told you that this was a serious sign.
There was this theater marquee advertising the current features in the theater at the time. By the looks of the sign, there were three movies playing. All three were listed on the marquee but the letters were arranged in such a fashion that it seemed to be a message of some kind. To the casual passerby, the sign read: “Erin Brockovich Screwed My Dog Skip”. Now that’s enough to make you go down to the next light, do a u-turn and come back by again just to be sure that you are not dreaming. Not being a big movie buff, I jus assumed there was only one movie playing and by the sound of the title messing around with all that toxic waste water had really screwed ol’ Erin up and Skippy the dog was paying the price. That had to be “X” rated to say the least.
Oh, one of my all-time favorite signs in the one with the picture of the Doberman on it and the message: “I Can Make It From Here To The Fence In 2.8 Seconds, Can You?” That one makes me laugh every time I see it. But then show it to some fool who considers himself a fleet-footed criminal and he quickly concludes “Bullcrap, no dog can run that fast, they’re just trying to fool me!” Well, that makes me ask the question, “What’s brown and black and looks good on a burglar?” You got it….a Doberman!
How about the perimeter sign at a U.S. Air Force installation that reads: Warning! For The Next 12 Miles This Road Crosses An Air Force Bombing Range – Objects Falling From Aircraft”. They really should not have put that sign up. It attracts the stupid couples out for an afternoon drive who spot it and go “Oh honey, I’ve never seen things dropped from airplanes, quick drive down there and let’s go watch!” These are the people who always seem to survive and find that lawyer in town who advises, “Oh yeah, I think you got yourself an airtight case against the government here!” It would be a lot safer if the Air Force just dropped these idiots out of the planes. There would be a lot less injuries and they would have a good time.
Don’t you just hate those people who persist in parking in the handicap spots but have no sign or tag indicating they are truly handicapped on the vehicle. Well, they have a new sign for them now since they don’t seem to understand the real one. It reads “Notice: Stupidity Is Not A Handicap – Park Elsewhere.” Now, I have heard that the really stupid folks that encounter this sign end up calling the cops to argue about whether or not stupid is a handicap. You know, it’s not a bad argument considering what comedian Ron White says about it… “You Can’t Fix Stupid”. Using that rationale, maybe it should be a handicap because that is one common feature of handicaps…you can’t fix them! Think about that for a while.
Our world is just full of entertaining little treats like these that provides hours and hours of imagination, laughs, and entertainment for us if we will only observe and read. Never discount the powers of observation in your life, it could make all the difference between life and death especially if you are about to grab that wire. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more of these entertaining and informative little ditties as I move about the streets of life. You’ll take care now!
© Copyright WBrown 2010. All Rights Reserved.