Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Let’s talk reading signs here. One of the things I love about travel is discovering a variety of ways people apparently have of destroying themselves, at least if the posted signs were put up because such things actually kept happening. On my extended walk this morning, along the Salthill Promenade in Galway, the following two were my favorites:


The area near where this was posted wasn’t especially treacherous, where visibility was concerned, nor was it unpredictably hilly. And so I have to wonder whether the place just induces people somehow to play chicken with the end of the dock, and go as fast as possible before braking unsuccessfully at the last minute.

There was also this cautionary picture along the causeway. DSC03904It makes it seem as if the wave truly is out to get this hapless individual, and out of nowhere, has swooped up to devour him. It’s also not very large, but the figure within the crossed-out circle at bottom left is almost as frightening as his watery counterpart; his forbidding expression, combined with his giant hand shoved into view, is truly startling.

I had a friend who, after college, found himself designing industrial saw blades for a living, some with a diameter greater than the height of a grown man. I wish I still had the stickers he’d bring sometimes for show and tell, after a new product had been designed, or serious injury or fatality experienced thanks to someone’s misuse of said product. My favorite was the one he dubbed “twisty man,” which starred some poor schmuck wrapped around a drive shaft. The obvious warning it contained was meant to keep people from sticking their arms inside, lest they be spiraled to death in the bowels of a large machine. There was also boiling oil man and sawed-off-hand man, but for sheer creativity in maiming oneself, twisty man couldn’t be beat.

I’m hoping to find more signage similar to my favorite ones from Montréal last year:

afuriouswind wfogI love how the wind in the first sign has taken on the visual personality of a large-eyebrowed butcher, sending out multiple directions of car-terrorizing breezes at the same time. And although the second one makes sense, it seems to ask drivers to take heed; car-devouring clouds (and this one does not resemble fog to me) may suddenly attack, after which, you and your vehicle will never be seen again.





Appropriately enough, I’ll end with a highway sign from that French-speaking trip; I’m certain I won’t see it in Ireland, although I’m hoping for something equally as despairing, in a general existential sense:




  1. Kinga

    That’s a great post – very Irish : ) Coincidentally, I am about to start On Signs by Roger Bacon. (my new adage: ‘you can Bacon anything’) Berkeley has a little something on signs (he means language). not as clever as your post, but still promising. : )


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