We have a global addiction to signs. Somewhere in human development, common sense became … not so common … requiring we put warning labels on everything to protect ourselves from … ourselves. We’ve become, in a sense, a signotopian society.
Journalists have an unending supply of stories where miscreants scream at the government for letting them be so reckless, followed later with an equal amount of disdain of government’s heavy handedness infringing on individual rights. Don’t believe it? Both sides of the argument have a team of lawyers who’d be glad to send you a brochure. Where it’s led us is a profligacy of visual aids with words and stick figures.
We need directional signs so we don’t break traffic laws, or get lost. Where’s the sign that says, Do Not Read Signs While Vehicle is Still Moving.
Stick people have become the ubiquitous symbol of things we should do or not do.
If you’ve forgotten how to behave on public transport, signs are there to help you remember.
Parks and National Heritage Sites ensure you have the knowledge to deal with the park’s native inhabitants, though stick people graphics may be removed if deemed too graphic for public eyes.
Warning labels have been dumbed-down to catch the fractional minority of people who insist on surviving Darwin’s laws.
The overabundance of warnings and signage has made most of us insensitive to it. Hell, even the animals don’t pay attention.
It’s come to a point where we must accept the fact that life is a tenuous arrangment. We shouldn’t need a sign to tell us that, but I’m expecting any day now, a lobby to petition all newborn infants be tattooed with “Caution – The Surgeon General has Determined that Living is Hazardous to Your Health“.
As for me, I find our obsession with warning labels and sign-o-topia tedious, which concerns my family, who thinks I should pay more attention to these things. There’s really only one warning I consider useful.
If that’s not good enough, I told them when I die, they have permission to use me as a warning to others.
What’s your favorite sign or label? Feel free to peruse the library at Signspotting, or create your own.
D.B. Sieders said:
I had a great one show up on my FB feed earlier this week.
IN CASE OF FIRE: Please leave the building before posting it on social media.
We may actually need this one 🙂
That’s a good one. Thanks, DB.