In our critique group, we often run across areas in our work where we have inserted unnecessary words. “Tautology” is a new word I learned. It means “needless repetition of the same thing using different words.” Examples are “I went there personally.” “He made it with his own two hands.” “Frozen ice covered the road.” “She made predictions of the future.”
Do you see the repetition in each of those sentences? (And in my title?) Obviously, I see with my eyes and I have two of them. So a more correct title would be “I Saw It.” Boring title but at least it’s not redundant.
I wonder what prompted the need for this sign? Confusion? Was one problem solved but another created?
A sign at a bank ATM reads “Enter your number one digit at a time.” Is there another way? I wonder what would happen if I pushed two buttons at once?
A library in California warns, “Beware of pedestrians on foot.” I suppose pedestrians in cars could pose a different problem.
Some signs may not be tautology but are just plain funny. I saw a sign on a door in an Iowa truck stop that read, “Electrical personnel only.” Every time we stop there on our way to Chicago, I look around for the electrical people.
Once, while driving across Illinois on the toll road (I-88) and dealing with major road construction, a temporary sign sat above the “45 Minimum Speed” sign. The temp sign read “45 Maximum Speed.” My son, the driver, saw it and said, “Cruise control, don’t fail me now.”
Humor is often used in signs. As a teenager, I lived in a small town surrounded by ranches and large spreads. I remember one sign on a fence post read, “No hunting without permission, and DON’T ASK!” Another sign on a very narrow gravel road out in the middle of nowhere warned “No parking.”
One of my favorite signs is the one below. I can relate to it on many different levels, especially as I continue writing my novel with all its twists and turns.
What are some of the funny signs or statements you have seen?