Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Useless Sign

Has anyone else noticed the increasing number of stupid signs that seem to be sprouting everywhere? For example, there’s a sign posted along the northbound lanes of I-81 just before the Pennsylvania line that reads, “Caution: Low flying aircraft.” In what possible way does this sign help me if there’s not a second sign that tells me what I’m supposed to do about any low flying aircraft, stuck as I am in my car, in one of two lanes, heading straight up the road at 70 miles per hour?

“Look, honey, some low flying aircraft. Let me veer violently off the road and hop the General Lee over that chain link fence so we can cut through the corn field and avoid it.”

I'm not sure if this is a warning sign or an advertisement for Extreme Canal Games.

I’m not sure if this is a warning sign or an advertisement for Extreme Canal Games.

Similarly, there is a sign along the C & O Canal warning people about falling rocks. Yes, I know that a rock could dislodge and fall at the very minute that I’m strolling by, but

the odds are so astronomical that there may as well be a second sign that reads, “Watch for Wile E. Coyote dropping an Acme safe on your head.” Beneath the falling rock sign is a sign giving very explicit directions about how to safely ride a

Over you go! Where you'll wash up, nobody knows!

Over you go! Where you’ll wash up, nobody knows!

bike along the newly reconstructed towpath. That’s highly ironic because three miles downstream exists no sign whatsoever warning people that they are about to step off the side of Dam #4 and into certain death in the churning water below. The National Park Service posts instructions on how to ride your bike, but it can’t put up a sign that reads, “Watch your step: We’re too stupid to erect a railing.”

Then there’s this useless admonition on the gas pumps at Sheetz: “Do not over fill your tank.” What does that even mean? It’s not possible to fill something past full. Translated into English, this sign would read, “Do not spill the gasoline,” which in itself is about as helpful as your mom telling you not to catch a cold.

Crossing the street is a game of blind man's bluff. Here's the blind man.

Crossing the street is a game of blind man’s bluff. Here’s the blind man.

Of course, the granddaddy of all useless signs is the traffic crossing signal. In fact, it’s worse than useless because of how often that little bent-over stick figure indicates that it’s safe to cross, only to suddenly stick up a big orange hand telling you not to as soon as you’re half way into the street. That stick figure has no clue about the traffic situation and I suspect that’s why he walks with that hunch. He probably followed his own advice and got run over in a cross walk. I’ll trust my own eyes before I trust the stick figure’s. Come to think of it, the stick figure has no eyes, which may explain his lack of solid guidance concerning when it’s safe to cross the street.

We have so much information coming at us these days that it would be truly helpful to delete the information that is truly useless. And I haven’t even mentioned the sign, posted in Braille, at the drive-through window of a local bank. Think about that one for a second.

Seen any stupid signs lately? If so, let us know. Feel free to paste a photo in the comment box.

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About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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15 Responses to Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Useless Sign

  1. Bonnie Lane says:

    Austin – I’m laughing so hard that I can hardly breathe!

    Like

  2. Deb Pratt says:

    Yes, this is a wonderful and very funny post! Thanks for the Sunday funnies!

    Like

  3. Jerry says:

    Austin, you need to follow this up with one on inane and asinine “safety” tags on products. Don’t drive this garden tractor if you’ve been drinking anything other than H2O, don’t ingest this paint thinner, don’t use this ladder or take this medication under any circumstances (that’s the English translation of the labels), etc.

    Like

    • You’re right, Jerry! We bought a toaster once that included directions on how to use it. The first thing we were instructed to do was to “remove the cardboard from the slots.” Wonder if anyone thought that was toast that came with the thing?

      Like

  4. Life is a series of probabilities. As for the Low Flying Aircraft sign, I am assuming their is a regional airport somewhere nearby. If so, the sign is meant to warn drivers of the probability of there being a low flying aircraft in the area and not to be startled should they see one. Perhaps this is a better sign would be – Caution – Don’t Veer Off The Road If You Happen To See A Low Flying Aircraft.

    Same thing with the Falling Rocks sign – I am assuming there must be a higher probability of falling rocks given the terrain of the land. Perhaps a better sign is, Caution – The Chances Are Greater In This Area That You Might Get Crushed By A Rock, So Don’t.

    As for the Walk sign, Austin you totally misread that one. When the hunched over white dude turns orange, it means the Orioles just scored another run!

    DBS

    Like

  5. Chris Ranck says:

    My favorite sign of all time was in a cheap motel, where they were having trouble with the guests stealing the really cheap white towels and linens. The sign on the desk said:

    Dear Guest
    Due to the popularity of our guest room amenities, our Housekeeping Department now offers these items for sale:
    Bath Towels $9.00
    Bath Mats $12.00
    Hand Towels $5.00
    Face Cloths $2.00
    Pillows $15.00

    Each guest room attendant is responsible for maintaining the guest room items. Should you decide to take these articles from your room instead of obtaining them from the Executive Housekeeper, we will assume you approve a corresponding charge to your account.
    Thank You.

    P.S. I STOLE THE SIGN. It’s on my desk.

    Like

  6. Don Hoover says:

    Or how about the sign that says “Clean Restrooms” as your traveling… Does that mean this is my responsibility to clean them?

    Like

  7. Pingback: Another Stupid Sign | Austin Gisriel

  8. Pingback: Best Warning Sign Ever | Austin Gisriel

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