Sunday, September 27, 2009

More Signs of More Times

Those of you who read my blog (all 6 of you) are probably aware of the fact that I am not that good at editing. While I love to craft a good story, and rework it until it shines with humor, I am practically incapable of spotting typographical and grammatical errors.

In fact I am positive that the ability to spot typos is dependent on a certain gene or chromosome that I just do not have.

But while I cannot edit very well, I am fairly decent at spotting signs that are extremely confusing or just completely asinine. For your benefit (all of 6 of you) I keep a running list of all the stupid that people feel the need to put in print for the world.

I would like to preface this first sign by stating that I love the superintendent of my building. He is extremely friendly, always says hello, and lets me know when I have a package. But his English is a bit broken. And when we were experiencing trouble with the lock at the entrance of my building, my super put this sign on the front door;

Door Open. Do Not Use Key.

I appreciate his commitment to keeping the tenants informed, but there are other ways to do this. Perhaps everyone who comes within spitting distance of my front door doesn't need to know that the door doesn't lock. I'm sure we could have figured it out on our own, because the sign my super put up sent the wrong message. It essentially could have been replaced with a sign that said;

Residents Vulnerable; Rob Them.

Luckily the sign was only up for a couple of days and nothing terrible happened. Inside my building however, there was another sign that concerned me.

My floor has a garbage chute. It is a small metal slot behind a full sized door. You can't put objects in there much bigger than a small grocery bag. There are rules posted about what items should and should not be put in there. But recently somebody, perhaps my super, perhaps an angry neighbor, left a sign up that had some fuzzy grammar that I questioned.



I don't really understand this message. Obviously whoever wrote it was feeling steamed.

I can relate to the desire to drive home a point. And by underlining certain words, you make people understand that this is important and this word should be focused on. But the quotation marks? I don't really understand what it is you are saying.

Are you using the quotation ironically? If you say "DON'T PUT" does that mean you actually want them to put? Or are you trying to use a word other than put?

Perhaps the note was justified, but it is the height of passive aggression leaving a note for someone else to find. It reminded me of the post its my pot smoking roommate my sophomore year of college used to leave me. He would leave a post it on the trash that said; Take out trash.

Oooh OK. Thank you for your knowledge contribution. This is a way better idea than actually taking out the trash yourself.

In retaliation I should have put a post it on our balcony porch that said; Don't smoke pot here.

Which, by the way, when I asked him to stop smoking pot on the balcony, he responded by saying;

I'll try and keep it down.

Keep it down? You know it's not the sound that bothers me right?

A friend of mine lives in an area in which there is a strip club between the train stop and her apartment. It is impossible to get to her apartment without walking past the strip club.

Honestly, I swear.

So the last time I went to visit her, I walked past the strip club and I noticed the doors were caution taped closed and there was a sign on the door that said;

The department of buildings has determined that the conditions in these premises are imminently perilous to life.

Imminently perilous to life? IMMINENTLY PERILOUS TO LIFE?

I don't think there was even a sign like this at Guantanamo Bay, and those premises really were imminently perilous to life.

I'm not sure what that strip club did to deserve such a stamp (I can only imagine) but whatever it did do, was enough to piss somebody off.

How on earth is that place ever going to do any bit of business again? What sign can they possibly put on the door after this one has already been up?

Hello fine upstanding frequenters of strip clubs. Remember that time when the department of buildings said the conditions in here were imminently perilous to life? Well, everything is OK now. Silly misunderstanding. No seriously, we're good.

I mean it's a strip club that presumably serves alcohol (Again I'm guessing because I never went in) so how good can it be for you in the first place? Strange naked women and booze was never something the doctor recommended as a cure for anything except maybe boredom.

I received a plastic Viking helmet recently as a gift for being a finalist in a contest. And on the side of the helmet it says;

Warning this is a toy. DOES NOT PROVIDE PROTECTION. MADE IN CHINA.

I have a couple of problems with this warning. First of all if someone is looking for general head protection be it for a bike ride or a construction site, I would hope their first inclination wouldn't be to purchase a plastic Viking helmet.

Second. Does not provide protection... from what? Actual Vikings? If you are being attacked by Vikings you have bigger problems than a plastic helmet, I mean, you might have accidentally gone back in time and that is something you should be concerned about.

And finally, a Viking helmet made in China? Can you imagine Vikings outsourcing the creation of their helmets to China? Perhaps if the Vikings had been willing to work with other nations to begin with they wouldn't have had to resort to the whole conquering, pillaging, and killing thing.

Then again, maybe the Vikings wouldn't have had to be so violent if the other nations had just put a sign outside their village that said;

Door Open. Do Not Use Key

8 comments:

Toni said...

If you like those grammatical errors, you will love translation errors. One of mine favorites is a an ad I saw in a Chinese restaurant that read "Opposite seasons, same great mood" it was an add for bubble tea. What the opposite seasons and mood had to do with the tea is beyond me.

Caroline B said...

You made me laugh out loud with this piece!
You should see the signs at our local market - Obo Jeans, Grass (asparagus believe it or not!) - argh!
One of the best street signs in the UK is 'Do not throw Stones at this Sign' - wha......

Jeninacide said...

OMG! You just made me LOL like 17X!

I hate passive aggressive notes. I used to leave them for one of my roommates back in the day- I was just so sick of dealing with her I would just leave her a post-it that said "Please pay rent." Like, HELLO? It's sort of implied at the 1st of the month that some kind of payment should be made to secure our place of residence, but she never seemed to think so!

Heh.

Rain said...

Great post Richard! I loved the youtube video, nice to see your sense of humour "in person"!!! Very cool. Congrats on the Viking helmut, lol! I'll have to keep my eyes open for some signage stupidity, I'm sure once I start looking, I'll find some!

The Girl said...

Man poor grammar is the worst. Why do people not understand basic English?! Trying to get someone to do something by demonstrating your own studpidity is never the right way to go.

Meeko Fabulous said...

Hi Boomka! I freakin' love finding signs with errors on them or that just make no sense at all! I'm gonna have to be on the look out and snap some pictures. :)

Pat said...

Sorry I'm so late in reading your posts. I've been on the road since the first of October.

This was really funny! I enjoyed it. You have a great sense of humor and a wonderful way of looking at things.

Glad your place didn't get robbed with the door open and all.

I always wanted to live in an apartment building with a garbage chute.

Blogger said...

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