Can You Read The Signs?

Where would we be without someone telling us where to go, what to do and how to get there?

Thankfully, there are an abundance of signs out there to guide us poor, aimless creatures through life. Without a nudge in the right direction, it seems, we would follow the way of the lemming and fall to our demise at the bottom of some windswept cliff.

Remember that 70’s song, Signs, by The 5 Man Electrical Band?  Shut up and get off my lawn, I’m that old. The song was covered by a mediocre 90’s band, Tesla and I’ll wait here while you get reacquainted.

At one point in the lyrics, it says:

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

The point is, we’re always being told what to do and I have a few favorite signs–signs I’ve run across in my rare outings in the world…

California State Prison Los Angeles County

Pretty straight forward — don’t do bad things


Don’t touch bad things


You have done bad things


This is one of my favorites, on I-10 west of the Arizona state line. Yet ,the state saw fit to build a rest stop at that very exit — go figure.

Then there are a few signs that make me wonder:


What flavor of exotic creatures can we find here? Crips and Bloods showing amazement in their native habitat?


Did they really run out of possible road names? It is the end of the earth out here.


Because sometimes we have to be told the obvious.


Or told exactly what to do.


And how to feel…

And all of these together make me feel like I have become the lowest common denominator in a very shallow pool. We have become so mindless, so incapable of managing our own lives that every waking moment must be directed. Twitter, Facebook and every social media platform seem to be filled to capacity with signs telling us what to do. All the signs bring out the rebel in me. They tell me to turn left–I want to go right. Political signs are the worst. Your poster board sign, accompanied by a megaphone amplified chant, is not going to win me over to your position–whatever it is.

An Outrager image by monkey bob99x via flickr creative commons

An Outrager
image by monkey bob99x via flickr creative commons

So, with everything that’s going on in our lives right now, there are signs everywhere. Pro this, anti that, do this and don’t do that. We can all read the signs, how we react to them is what defines us. I  read the signs, I simply chose my own path.



  1. My favorite sign is in the Smoky Mountain National Park. No feeding animals picking flowers. So, as long as the bear is NOT picking flowers I can feed him or her.

    1. As a general rule, any animal picking flowers, should be off limits.

    2. Good one!

  2. I’ve seen the zzyyxx sign but I can’t remember where.

    1. Off Interstate 15 near Baker, California — on the way to Las Vegas.

  3. Joe Isola · · Reply

    I beg to differ – Tesla was more than mediocre.

    1. Oh, Joe, we had such hopes for you. I was being kind with the mediocre label. Nonetheless, I will continue to support your first amendment right to express your opinion — no matter how musically off key it may be. Rock on, brother!

  4. I was about to remind you that Tesla was a local Sacto band but Joe beat me to it. No, that has no bearing on their quality but, so little of consequence comes from this area (I’m ignoring the State Legislature) that they may be one of our few claims to fame .

    1. Yep, they were a local Sacramento are band and I never got into their stuff. You maya have a point on the few positive contributions to the local scene. Once a cow town…

  5. As soon as I saw the title of your post, I thought of that song. 😀 These are hilarious. (Well…not the last one. I mean, it’s funny in a sad way.)

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