Voice of the Mountain
by Shawn K. Inlow
It is Friday, and that means it is time for a photo shoot. I was encouraged to do more photography for you since the response to my "Lawn Furniture" (scroll down to Jan. 4) was very kind, to say the least.
Today's photos contemplate warning signs. I am always struck by the way signs constantly give us information and usually it's information for the good. Normally they warn against dangers but sometimes they warn us in a more sublime way. Let's have a look.
This sign was found on the door of a Panera Bread in Pittsburgh. That for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is surveillance "on duty."
This was the sign that welcomed you to the Panera, where you can get a good soup and sandwich...under surveillance.
The need for surveillance is apparent given the way I go at tomato soup and a grilled cheese.
This sign warns you about church.
This is a very forward thinking sign, I think. Given the different kinds of ways that the good word can be interpreted by us fallible humans, you need to be careful around your places of worship.
The Mountain will say this: The words in red are hard to misinterpret.
This guy here warns that "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires."
The only reason that this sign really bothered me was because Smokey Bear is wearing a BURGLAR'S MASK!!! No. Okay. It's something more strange than that. It is a Smokey Bear with a Racoon head.
I vacation on the Island of Dr. Moreau, if you're wondering.
But Smokey Racoon said the fire danger was nonexistent that day, so I felt much better.
One day I was on a walk around my hometown and noticed this (left) sign. It warned of fire trucks. And it was a good thing because it wasn't sixty seconds later that THIS (right) happened right in front of me. I had been given advance notice of fire trucks.
I was in a medical facility in Pittsburgh and on the way out was this green door with this sign on it. And I could not keep myself from wondering... "WHY?" Why must that door be kept closed at all times? What is behind the green door? Why have a door if it must be kept closed at all times? Why not just have a wall?
Since you're wondering, I did try the door. It was locked. Mystery unsolved.
Here was another sign that could be either a helpful direction or a warning. It was a sign on a door inside a residence in Philadelphia.
What makes this sign more grave than it appears is that it is the basement door of the residence where Edgar Allen Poe probably wrote "The Tell-Tale Heart."
And there was something in me that balked at going under the floorboards in that particular residence. Have to say, though, that Poe's basement... Very cool. Very cool. Very "Cask of Amontillado," if you follow me.
There was no sign on how to get out.
Now here's an interesting thought. Here' s a sign that warns there is no way out. The road is a cul-de-sac, so you might as well just turn around buddy. This means you. Cause... No way out. Don't even think about it. Waste of your time.
Perhaps there are no shopping malls on that road.
Perhaps this particular sign is commenting on the lonely orange extension cord that is hanging over the top of it. There is, quite literally, no outlet.
I was powerless to help.
They tell me I have no outlet. Just this blog.
Here is a helpful instructive sign in the New York City subway. Across from the platform, across the tracks (I always wondered which rail was the famous "third rail." I mean, there are three of them and there was no warning sign about which of the three rails was the third one.), there is a shallow recess in the wall.
Why it is there, I cannot fathom a guess. But, since it is there, it must call out for some idiot to jump down from the subway platform, dance across the three potentially deadly rails and stand in that recess there to see whether or not there is enough room to stand there when the train comes.
Warning signs, I guess, prevent the stupid from killing themselves. So I have to wonder at whether we need them at all. Probably to prevent the stupid from killing others by accident.
In Chicago, Illinois, they have signs that warn you in the park about speed humps. I have never heard it called that, but there you have it. In my own very poor mind, I get unsavory images of, you know, a quickie. Or or the Black Eyed Peas video for the song "My Humps." So you wanna proceed with caution when you see this warning sign.
This sign on the left warns of Tetris.
The sign on the right informs visitors to the Ground Zero Memorial in New York City of the things you can't bring in there.
Good to know ahead of the screening process ahead.
The small, lonely sign to the right informs me that I ought to slow down. It warns me to slow down.
I think this is a good idea. Maybe the problem with people is they are always going too fast. I need to chill and go fishing for a while or something. I need to relax. I would love to see a warning sign that said, "relax."
My Dad, the week before he died, told me that I had better stop and smell the roses. Maybe my old man put this sign in my path for a reason.
And, finally, to close out our Friday post and send you on a weekend, my very favorite sign-post in this life-time so far. The pictured welcome sign is posted outside the Curtis Park Athletic Complex where our District Champion Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties soccer team plays our home games and where our amazing Lady Mountie Softball girls routinely kick booty and take names. There oughtta be a warning sign about THAT.
But no, this sign kindly welcomes visitors and then screams at them the fifteen enumerated things that are expressly prohibited and you better not mess because the "rules will be enforced" and you are warned that the area is under surveillance. Probably by the same guy who's watching the Panera down in Pittsburgh.
So, until next week, have a great weekend and thank you for checking out the Voice of the Mountain.
As a parting gift, a little poem that I stole from an old Johnny Hart "B.C." strip.
"Through winding hills
And steep inclines
Keep your eyes on the road
And not on the signs."
Osceola Mills, Pa.