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Sign, sign everywhere a sign


I’ve added a couple of new signs to my collection this summer.
The signs are not physically collected; just the verbiage.
To date, my favorite is the one I ran across on a fishing trip to northern Minnesota several years ago. While taking a break from angling I went for a walk down a rural road and came across this gem: “No shooting/children at play.”
Of course the meaning of the message is to tell people with firearms to not shoot in this area because there are children playing. But this raises the question: is there so much shooting going on willy-nilly in the Land of Lakes that special zones need to be set up so children can play without a hail of bullets descending on them? It is the state that gave us Michele Bachmann and Jessie Ventura, after all, so I guess anything’s possible.
But the way my twisted mind reads the sign tells me to do literally what it says: don’t shoot playing children. Ergo and thusly, children not playing are fair game. Not sure what the child labor laws are up there, but I assume they must be pretty liberal and there’s a need to thin the underage work force, so by all means shoot them. Also, children reading are fair targets as well as ones napping, walking or riding a bike. Or is riding a bike playing? I’m sure the NRA can sort it all out.
Whatever, the fishing was good on the trip.
The first sign I added recently reads: “Invisible Dog/Fence Installed.” I’ve never met an invisible dog but would very much like to do so. I’ve met many a talking dog in my day, however. You probably have, too. You ask them what’s on top of a house and they respond, “roof.” What’s on the outside of a tree? “Bark.” What does sandpaper feel like? “Rough.” I even knew a dog once that could do math. Ask him what three minus three is and he’d say nothing every time.
The sign is posted next to a bike path in front of a house on a large lot near our place. I’ve ridden my bicycle past it many times but have yet to see the dog. Maybe it really is invisible? Or maybe the fence is invisible and so far back that the dog never gets close enough to see?
The second sign I came across appeared on a trip back from Des Moines. It reads: “Rest area/Wi-Fi/vending machines/ahead.
I don’t know about you, but I dread vending machines. My experience with them is rarely positive. They take my money and too often don’t give anything back, or they take my money and dispense the wrong item. Once in a remote motel with nary a restaurant in sight and hunger pains searing my stomach, I had 75 cents to my name and a craving for a PayDay bar. I dropped my three quarters and wound up with dental floss. “Great,” I thought, “I’ll die of hunger but won’t have tartar gumming up my teeth.” That, of course, made me think of fried fish with extra tartar sauce on the side. Then I was even hungrier.
But the worst is when the machine drops your item but it sticks somewhere before coming out the drawer at the bottom, dangling like a forbidden fruit; so close, yet so far. Not too long ago a Pepsi I desired lodged against the glass halfway down, and I nearly lost an arm trying to retrieve it.
The sign no doubt meant that there was a Wi-Fi hotspot at the rest area and vending machines, but then again maybe not.
Maybe it’s part of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s initiative to bring broadband high-speed Internet to the state. It’s not so crazy. Put a dollar into a machine and get a code that you type into your browser for Internet service. I can see the television advertisement now: a lovely young woman in a remote rest area repeatedly tries to feed a dollar bill into a vending machine so she can get her Facebook fix.
But that’s crazy, or is it tartar sauce?