Normative Signs: The Poetry of "Ought"

In which the author finds beauty in how people tell other people what to do.

Month: January, 2014

Did it really need to be said?

shoes_wallHere’s one of those often-fascinating custom-printed-after-the-fact signs. It was posted in a building housing professional offices, in a town in Virginia.

The sign is baffling, at least to those of us who don’t happen to know the history. I always love looking at signs, and imagining the day when finally someone just couldn’t take it any more and felt compelled to word-process and print a sign…and then tape it to a wall with blue masking tape.

I also love the extravagant politeness, in which I detect no sarcasm nor suspect any.

(Thanks to Thea E. Smith for sending the picture.)

Fake London Underground Signs

always_pressNot all of these are normative signs, but if you’re interested in normative signs, you’ll like these:

“Someone has made fake London Underground signs, and whoever did it is a ruddy genius.”

(Thanks to loyal reader Maxime Desmarais-Tremblay for sending the link!)

Caution: Don’t Have Fun


Given the exuberant pictogram, this CAUTION sign (on the campus of Duke University) looks like it’s cautioning against something a lot more fun than slipping and falling.

Thanks to Wayne Norman for sending the picture.

Some Redundant Words are Redundant

strictlyIs it just me, or are 2 of the words in this sign redundant?

Once you’ve said that something is “reserved,” that pretty much means “strictly” (is there such a thing as “sort of” reserved?). And the same goes for “only”. The word “reserved” means “only these people can use this.”

The picture was taken outside a grocery store in Toronto.
customers only

Yoda Wrote This Sign

Must_be_worn At a construction site in Niagara Falls, Ontario.