So, I’m strolling through Scripps Ranch the other day. I pass by Hoyt Park and notice a sign that I’m sure I’ve seen many times before. This time, though, it strikes me differently. The sign reads: Organized Sports Are Prohibited in Park. I can’t shake the image of a whole herd of directionally-challenged freaks running around sending kickballs flying off every which way. It’s like some Monty Python skit gone terribly wrong or perhaps terribly right! It’s okay if the kickballers tear down trees or rip up the grass just so long as they don’t organize themselves, the very thought. Still mildly entertained by the brilliant internal monologue I had rolling, I walked to the top of Aviery Drive. At the corner is a red octagon traffic sign. We are all familiar with this type of sign and you may think you know the meaning of it, but the meaning has changed recently. It is now a “whatever you do, don’t” Stop sign. This got me thinking about all sorts of other signs. Some are straight forward and informative: No Parking Anytime, No Trespassing, No Soliciting. Some are informative but not as straight forward: Left Lane Ends. It doesn’t really tell enough, doesn’t really suggest you do anything, just thought you might like to know. As I walked by Miramar Elementary, I saw more signs. Some don’t include everything/everyone they should: Pedestrian Area—No Bicycles, Rollerblades, Skates, Skateboards. If they think that covers it, they have clearly never witnessed a crazed bargain-seeking baby-boomer barreling down the paper towel isle at Wal-Mart in a modified fuel-injected Hoverround. The school yard also sported this gem: Paint Gun Activities Prohibited in City Open Space. Okay, but if you feel like strapping on an AK-47 and going postal on the playground equipment, have at ‘er. And speaking of things you should not do, how about the Community Alert Neighborhood signs? A nice program, but I can’t figure out if the shady character on the sign (complete with fedora and high collar trench coat) is the suspected perpetrator or nosey old Mrs. Pennywhistle spying out her window as someone wheels their trash receptacle to the curb. Driving down Pomerado Road, heading for softball practice, I saw another sign that showed the silhouette of a frolicking deer and below it read: Next 4 Miles. Now, you tell me, how do the deer know to stay within the next four miles…CAN RUDOLPH READ? Further on I saw a great sign: No Outlet. Wow, that’s heavy, man. Had to pull over and think about it for a while, almost blew my mind! The ballpark held more treasures. First off there was: Emergency Lifeguard Service Dial 911. Which is great and all, except there is no pool at the ballpark. On the baseball diamond itself there is a sign that reads: NO Hitting Balls Against the Fence. Who in the world would think that was a good idea anyway. Sounds like some medieval torture to me. After practice, I was walking back to my truck and saw my favorite sign of the day. It was scrawled in caulk on the sidewalk, written in a child’s hand, and read: I Love You. Direct, informative, straight forward and it includes everyone.

Daniel J McAuliffe

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