When I grew up there was a sign on our street that read, “Slow Children Playing.” When we see the sign, we know to slow down and take notice of the children playing. Do children play outside anymore? You can read the sign another way. It is not the correct reading, you must have context to respond properly to “Slow Children Playing.”
What is a Ped and why should we worry about “Ped-xing?” Since I don’t know what a Ped is, I certainly can’t be concerned about their xing. What is xing, anyway? Of course we know, because the sign is usually in proximity to a crosswalk, it is shorthand for Pedestrian Crossing.
Down the street from our offices, a church has earned the big yellow, “Church” sign. I certainly don’t know why people on the road need to be warned about the church. Unless the Mississippi Squirrel has invaded the church and the members are fleeing that squirrel, we are mostly orderly people. You might ask your pastor why your church doesn’t have a warning sign. Have we deserved our warning sign?
Comics abound in the church. They seem to catch our signs that don’t communicate as clearly as we thought or planned. I have a folder full of church signs I have seen that make me cringe. Lord, forgive us for our poor communication.
In the season of Christmas lights, there are signs all around us that we have entered a holy season. I wonder if we are clearly communicating. It is hard the find the baby in all our lights, huh? We need Bethlehem’s baby to give all of this context and meaning.
There is a sign on Williams Boulevard that has confused the fool out of me in recent weeks.
The sign read, “Watch the fireworks from your own backyard!”
When I first saw the sign, the city was decorating downtown. I thought the sign was a pretty rude unwelcome to our city. Was the sign saying that people should stay in their hometown and not watch our fireworks? What if their town doesn’t have fireworks? What if their backyard was too far from the Cane and they couldn’t see the fireworks? Was it NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) gone crazy? As I first pondered that sign I translated it as “Shoo…go away.”
The decorations and the fences went up and I passed the same sign. “Watch the fireworks from your own backyard!” I thought that perhaps a homeowner was being invaded by tourists thinking they could watch the fireworks standing in the open backyards along the Cane. I interpreted the sign as a homeowner protecting their property rights. It was still, “Shoo….go away” but at least there was a reasonable explanation for the inhospitable sign. I didn’t know we had a problem of people in backyards innocently trespassing. But I could see how strangers in your backyard might cause to one to post their property. It made sense.
The other day, I finally saw the other sign. “Watch the fireworks from your own backyard!” has a Brad Ferguson Real Estate sign next to it. So the sign is not about the fireworks after all, it is about purchasing a home. It is not “Shoo….go away” it is an invitation. I even know the agent and she is awesome. Someone buy the house! What an interesting way of highlighting an advantageous location for living and watching fireworks.
I needed the small real estate sign to understand the fireworks sign. I am a few fries short of a Happy Meal and sometimes I don’t get it, unless I have help.
I need the Bethlehem’s baby for life to make sense. You too?