I’m grateful for safety signs. You know the one’s I mean. You see ‘em in restaurants, schools, restrooms, prisons, gay bars, psychotherapy offices, Jesuit monasteries, and so on. Often, they’re referred to as caution signs, or heads up signs, or Hey, Jackass, get your head outta yer rear end and look where the heck yer goin’ signs. Regardless, they serve an invaluable purpose. They alert the literate to the fact that they are approaching danger and that they had better be careful—perhaps even leave the scene all together. (As for the illiterate—they’re screwed.) These signs come in different shapes and sizes. You’ve got your standard floor sign with multi-lingual “Caution” imprint; your stand-up yellow “Wet Floor” sign; your pop-up safety cones; and, perhaps the sexiest of all safety signs, your fluorescent orange red IO hazard decal.
Yes, we owe our human survival to the safety sign. More than we know, safety signs have kept us out of harm’s way. They tell us, “Don’t go there, it’s slippery,” or “don’t light up, this is flammable,” or “cuidado, immigration officials nearby.” But for all the good they do, they’re still aren’t enough safety signs. Sure, we’ve got signs that will warn you not to dive into an empty cement pool or that will tell you a cup of coffee is hot (imagine how many Rhode scholars must have gotten concussions diving into empty cement pools or were taken totally by surprise to discover coffee is hot before those babies were invented); but what about signs I really need. Where’s the safety sign that tells me to leave the house for the day because my wife is going through PMS. Where’s the safety sign that tells me “Caution, watch what you say! The brown-noser in the next cubicle will use it against you to steal your promotion and, if possible, the bobble head doll on the corner of your desk.” And, of course, where’s the sign that blinks repeatedly, sounds a siren, and audibly yells “Stop!” as it flashes the words “Last beer before puking!” over and over again. These are the signs that would most help my life. These are the warnings I desperately need.
So I say, “Thank you, safety signs!” If only there were more of you. The world would be a safer place; and more jackasses would get their heads out of their rear ends.