Stating the obvious a sign of the times

We’re in line at a restaurant, and the sign reads: PLEASE FINISH YOUR PHONE CONVERSATION WHEN ORDERING. That just seems like common sense, so I don’t understand why there’s even a need for it. It’s one of those useless signs that really shouldn’t even exist — sort of like, “Slippery When Wet” or “Press Door to Open” or “Welcome to Oakland.”

It should be obvious that you don’t hold up everyone in line talking on your phone — personally I’m in favor of the death penalty for violators — yet still you see this frequently.

There are plenty of other odd signs. Like in a restaurant bathroom, when you look up and see: EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS BEFORE RETURNING TO WORK. It concerns me there was a reason this was put up. I just want to know if they fired the reason for the sign. Or is he still in back, tossing my salad by hand?

NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE is another puzzling one. I’d sooner walk into, say, The Rockslide, carrying a male blow-up doll and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher than I would show up without a shirt on.

Seeing a NO SMOKING sign on the front door of a home always kills me. If you have friends who drop by and light up Marlboros in your living room without asking, you need better friends.

Occasionally you’ll see motel signs that list features like COLOR TV, or AIR CONDITIONED ROOMS. I know they are mostly just outdated signs, but they amuse me to no end.

“Honey, I don’t want to brag, but the hotel room I booked for us has a television with full color!”

“Really? Maybe one day we’ll be able to afford one of them fancy rooms with air-conditioning.”

FINES DOUBLED IN WORK ZONE. “OK,” I say to myself. Slow down. This works for a few miles, until I see END OF DOUBLE-FINE ZONE, which basically conveys the message: GO AHEAD AND SPEED AGAIN.

Sometimes a sign is too authoritative, bringing out your inner contrarian. It makes you want to do the opposite of what it says, even if you’re at the old “Cheers” strip club, and the sign reads: DO NOT TOUCH THE DANCERS and your little act of rebellion results in a bouncer named “Rocky” throwing you out face-first onto the cold hard pavement of Second Street at 1:14 a.m. on a frigid Saturday morning in February of 1994.

But that’s just an example I completely made up.

DO NOT WALK ON GRASS is less of a command, and more of a welcoming invitation. You only see that sign on the greenest, most plush grass. Something’s wrong with you if you don’t walk on it.

Whenever I see, CLICK IT OR TICKET, I immediately want to unbuckle my seat belt. Those government SOBs can’t tell me what to do. Yes, I may die in a violent head-on collision, but at least I’ll show them.


You see this one at gas pumps: PREPAY IN ADVANCE. As opposed to prepaying afterward?

When exiting Eisenhower Tunnel, there’s a sign, ARE YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON? Why yes they are. What do you care?

In Glenwood Canyon you’ll see this sign every few miles, WATCH FOR FALLING ROCKS. I’m never sure how to take this. On one hand, the state of Colorado is spending millions on TV ads, telling me that driving while texting is dangerous. On the other hand, they’re telling me to drive while focusing my gaze on cliffs 300 feet above me.

Watch for falling rocks? Why? So I can witness my own impending death? No thanks. When it comes to dying, my theory is: Surprise me.

I see this highway sign occasionally: LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT. Why am I being warned about this? How low are they flying? The roof of my car is about 5 feet from the ground, so this sign is either unnecessary, or I took a wrong turn by the airport and ended up on a runway.

ROAD MAY BE ICY AHEAD. You’ll still see these in July, when it’s 102 degrees out. Yes, it may be icy. Or it may not be. We’re not sure.

WATCH FOR DEER. On the road I presume. Otherwise it’s just sort of a sightseeing tip.

These are many other examples that I can’t cover now. I’m going out to dinner. I was all ready to go, but my wife says I’m supposed to put a shirt on.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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