From Where I Sit – Billboards, Bumper Stickers, and More

I love reading. I’ll read anything, anytime, anywhere. Well, except Harlequins. Can’t take all that talk about heaving breasts, hard loins and happy endings.

I read bumper stickers and cereal boxes. I read vanity licence plates and billboards. I read those yellow, portable, rental signs with do-it-yourself lettering.

I read newspapers — dailies and weeklies. I read favorite’s like the National Post’s Christie Blatchford. I read advice columns for gardeners and the love-lorn. I read my horoscope and the comics page.

Some days I read the personals. Those miniaturized ads extolling virtues like height, fondness for long walks, non-smoking and a desire for a meaningful relationship.

I read signs on delivery trucks and service vehicles. I read notices in doctor’s offices warning of extra charges, intolerance for abuse and explaining the long wait I’ve just endured. I read signs and notices that scream with all caps. I read emails that make me laugh and make me cry.

I read in traffic, in bed, in the john, in waiting rooms, at the table. I don’t read nearly often enough in resorts or on holiday getaways.

In short, I’ll read anything that isn’t nailed down.

I love and admire the power of words. I especially love words that are particularly witty or wise. Here are some of my favorites:

Sign in front of a Sherwood Park church, “Win a free trip to heaven. Details inside.” In front of a Texas church, “If the water’s polluted, painting the pump won’t help.” On a sign in front of the North Shore Assembly of God Church in Hastings, Nebraska, “God answers knee-mail.”

Some of my favorite vanity plates: THANXPA on a little red sports car, OYOYOY on a Saskatchewan van, K9 DOC, BAKDOC, LONGGON, MOMSROD, GLDNRUL, I DOCTR.

Some of the most pointed messages I’ve seen have been in the US. Texas highways in particular have some thinly veiled threats. “DWI (driving while impaired) You Can’t Afford It” super-imposed over the state map. Or “Don’t Mess with Texas” signs to discourage littering. Or “Under 18? Got tobacco. It’s your driver’s license that gets smoked” on a Houston billboard.

An Oklahoma highway sign warns “Watch your speed. We are.” with the silhouette of a cop for illustration. Another billboard promises “Drink, Drive, Go to Jail, Photos in about an Hour”. An Ohio billboard with a pregnant belly in profile declares it a “No Smoking Section.” Ryegate, Montana announces their annual Testicle Festival — I can only guess what that entails!

“Beer is the reason I wake up in the afternoon” adorns a key chain. A bumper sticker announcing “When I married Mr. Right I didn’t know his first name was Always.” Or a t-shirt depicting the US flag and the words “These colors don’t run”. Tongue in cheek, double meanings, just plain clever: I love them all.

Do yourself a favor. Add reading to your day and to your life. It’s a joy and a blessing from where I sit.

*Reprinted with permission

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