Signs are typically boring and predictable, always telling us where to go or what to do. Every once in a while, though, we see things that make us laugh out loud, wonder what they were thinking, admire brilliance, or just go “huh”.  Here are some examples:

In Montgomery, Alabama, there is a sign that says “Police Jurisdiction”. Seriously, isn’t everywhere in the U.S. a police jurisdiction? Or is there a line drawn right there? Step over it and anarchy!

We were on back roads near the Tennessee River in Counce, Tennessee, heading for Uncle Wyatt’s place. Coming around a slight curve to the left, there was another road coming in, angled like an interstate on ramp, from the right. It LOOKED like we had the right of way…at least until you saw the stop sign off of the LEFT shoulder. Seriously, nothing on the right. We were almost committed to go right through by the time we saw the one on the left. There was plenty of space to put it on the right, but no. I guess they were feeling a little off kilter that day, or maybe it was opposites day. I know…the sign guy was desperately allergic to wasp stings, and there was a nest in the tree on the right. No way was he going to risk anaphylactic shock just to put a street sign where everyone thinks it should be. We each got caught by that intersection once during our stay, and thankfully, no one was coming on the other road either time. Otherwise…bam!

Okay, so the wasp comment reminds me of a story from back in the day.  (Not about signs…sorry.) When we were dating (and the first 7 months of our marriage for that matter), I was stationed at PDK in Atlanta and MW was stationed at El Toro MCAS in California.  (Thank God that ‘trollers got to take FAM flights for free back then, or we would have been miserable!).  While at his place in Lake Forest, we decided to head up into the mountains to check out a cool biker bar and watch the hang gliders flying off of the ridge.  On that beautiful day I was driving, windows down, just soaking up the great weather.  The mountain road was a steep climb up on the driver’s side and a complete drop-off on the passenger side.  No worries…I’ve got this.  About half-way up, something hit the side mirror, came into the cab, bounced off of my chest, and dropped into my lap.  You guessed it!  The next thing I knew I was being stung about as far up on your inside thigh as can still be called a thigh.  I’m screaming and cussing and swerving all over the road, trying to get this invader out of my crotch.  MW, knowing that we are about to crash off the side of this mountain, is saying “Stop the truck!  Just stop the truck!” in his Marine voice.  (I’ve only heard it twice in my life, but it is impressive.) As we rounded a bend, there was a little bit of shoulder with a pile of dirt on it.  I plowed into the dirt, stopping the truck, and leapt out.  Of course, the next question was “Are you allergic?”  How the hell would I know???  I’d never been stung!!!  At this point we were miles from the nearest hospital, and back then urgent care was not on every corner.  We sat there for a minute, then decided that odds were against me being allergic since I had never had issues with anything at all.  I decided to just head on up to the bar…probably because I needed a drink!  LOL.  Everything turned out fine after the swelling and pain went away, but I really wish I had a picture of MW’s eyes before I stopped the truck.  That was definitely “deer in the headlights”.  Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Church signs are interesting and prove that preachers and priests can have quite the sense of humor.  A couple of recent likes:  “Grow through what you go through.”  “Sign broken.  Message inside.” “Smoking or Nonsmoking. It’s up to you.”

This little gem was at Elkhorn Campground in Frankfort, Kentucky. I’m guessing the speed limit doesn’t change much.

We rolled up on a 4-way stop situation, which isn’t typically a problem unless you meet someone who just doesn’t understand the concept. That is NOT the case when it is a 4-way stop on crossing four-lane highways. Eight lanes total, with no one having the slightest idea of what to do. Keeping up with turns was a nightmare. At no time did both of the vehicles on the same side go at the same time. Do you go ahead and go when the guy beside you goes, even though he has been there for a while and you just arrived? What one vehicle actually has the right of way? Seriously, the person who came up with that should be shot!

In very rural Illinois we ran across a road sign that said “Excess Oil on Roadway”. What??? Seriously, nothing but cornfields around, so what could cause there to be excess oil on the pavement? Is that the spot where all of farmers fix their leaking tractors? Do the locals just pour their old oil there and watch the out-of-towners skid through it? I bet someone once skid off of the road and blamed excess oil, thereby causing some overzealous politician to come up with a new sign.

We recently stopped to have a bite in a mom and pop place (but I can’t remember the town). I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. On the wall was a large sign that read “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Right beside that was another sign that said “Sorry. We are out of soap.”

Another rural sign in Illinois read “Water on Pavement During Heavy Rain”. Really?? Isn’t that always the case? Are there people out there (driving, no less) who wouldn’t know that?

In Paducah, Kentucky, we were dying for some Potato Ole’s from Taco Johns. On our way back to Petunia from visiting with our friends Lori and Jimmy, we popped in. As we approached the door, there was a sign that read “Welcome Back to Our Lobby”. Right beside it was another sign that read “We have decided not to open our lobby.” Do we get to pick which one we follow? Does the person writing these signs suffer from multiple personality disorder?

In the category of clever advertising, a billboard company put this on their empty billboards…”Does this billboard make my ad look big?” Love it!

In Ottumwa, Iowa, there was a directional sign for the “Sanitary Landfill”. Okay, someone might not know the definition of sanitary. Maybe they have a landfill just for feminine products. Maybe they clean everything before it goes into the actual landfill. I just don’t know what to think about that.

The above reminded me that there used to be a restaurant in Reidsville, North Carolina, named the Sanitary Cafe. We never went, although folks said it was great. I just don’t think I could get past the name. If they put it in the name, they might be trying to convince you of something that is not.

Also in Ottumwa, Iowa, there was a sign stating “No Train Horn”. I assume that means that the train does not blow its horn coming through town. Would that be all the time? If a car was on the tracks, would he blow the horn? Or is that track only for trains that don’t have horns? Or did some idiot put a train horn on his car, forcing the city council to make a new sign banning that?

One of my favorite signs recently was from a restaurant bathroom in Moberly, Missouri. It read “Please remain seated throughout the performance.”

That’s it for now. I’m sure this topic will come up again as we travel the byways of this great country.

See you on the road!


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