Baxter Black: Public signs |

Baxter Black: Public signs

Baxter Black/For the Saturday Morning Press

Public signs and announcements are often unclear. Hidden meanings lurk beneath even the simplest directive. I’d like to propose that some government agency be assigned the task of rewriting them. For instance:

An announcement heard frequently in major airports should say: “Your attention please. The solicitation of funds by religious groups — Moonies, animal rights fanatics, perverts, sickies and other weirdos — is not sponsored by the management of this airport or the airlines.”

See? Say what you mean.

“This parking space is reserved for handicapped persons. If you are parked here and can walk away from your car without the aid of a cane … it may be the last time.”

“Caution: The surgeon general has determined that smoking will cause your lungs to look like Alpo, make your clothes and hair stink, take 10 years off your life and make kissing you as pleasant as licking an ashtray.”

“Beware of Dog. We are sick and tired of uninvited guests and couldn’t find a sign that said ‘Beware of Armed Sniper in the Lilac Bush.’”

“Parking for customers only: Violators will be crushed and melted.”

“EPA est. 25-mpg city, 30-mpg highway. These are estimates, and your mileage may vary because the EPA, like most government agencies, is incapable of making a decision, and since they ran the test, they’re probably not reliable, anyway.”

“Not Responsible for Hats and Coats: There’s no accounting for the bad taste some of our customers have in clothes.”

“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Money, No Service.”

“For Sale: Good cow dog: $1,000. Will consider trade for two $500 cats or a high school graduate with no intention of going to vet school.”

“Home Cooking: Today’s Special: leftovers microwaved to perfection just like you get at home.”

“No Hunting or Trespassing: Violators will be shot, ground into chorizo and fed to the feral hogs.”

“Easy-Money Pawn Shop: We lend cash on anything of value. All we require is proper identification and a member of your family as collateral.”

And finally, I’ve eaten at some restaurants where the sign on the door should have said, “Sorry, we’re open.”

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