Sign of the Times

It started with No Parking signs.  Then came Fire Zone and Handicapped Parking.  All reasonable restrictions, to be sure.  Soon after, the list expanded:  Employee-of-the-Month, Tow Away Zone, Compact Car Parking, Hybrid Car Parking, Carry-Out Parking Only, Compact-Hybrid-Deathtrap Car Parking, and No Parking 6 A.M. to 9 A.M. on alternate Tuesdays except during Rosh Hashanah, etc.

Then businesses decided that multicultural was insufficient. They must be post-cultural, and remove all actual words from signs.  Particularly the English words, which surely represent an evil form of western hegemony. Men’s restrooms received only a shape.  Women’s restrooms the same.  Baby-changing stations, trash and recycling receptacles — all now relegated to a series of triangles or circles mashed together to form an amorphous personoid.  Inoffensive to be sure, but also directionless and bland.  Soon you’ll go into Starbucks to order a tall peppermint mocha by just pointing to a rhombus.

The convergence of Parking Oversign Syndrome and Business de-Anglification has produced the illegitimate offspring featured here:

"Woman with large goiter strangles small child."

I don’t really care what it means.  I suppose I resent not being able to simply read a sign.  I bemoan the ever-increasing parking restrictions of the nanny state.  But most of all, I fear that at this rate, geometry will simply run out of shapes around 2029.

If you are serious about learning more about how parking and street signs are supposed to look (and I pity you), the Manual on Uniform Control Devices is the U.S. Dept. of Transportation standard.


Author: Andy Perkins

Rochester, Indiana.

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