Jessie: Glad to be wrapped up in a cozy sweater, even indoors!
For our third installment on the topic of signs, I wanted to turn the topic to the sort that grace storefronts and commercial buildings. Do you ever catch yourself spotting grammatical or spelling errors on signs? Have you ever seen one that tickled your funny bone? Any that inspired feelings of nostalgia?
Edith/Maddie: I always spot the errors in signs. Always. And have to slap my hand not to fix a misplaced apostrophe or quotation marks (although once, waiting hours with my mother-in-law – a retired English teacher – for her to go into surgery, we spotted an error in a hospital poster on the wall. Bette approved when I got out the red pen…). I got a giggle out of the Booby Marché I spotted in Burkina Faso once, and from the signs for places like “Praise the Lord Auto Mechanic and Funeral Parlor” that are everywhere in Ghana.
Sherry: The most memorable sign error I spotted was during a search for preschools for my daughter. I’d been visiting various preschools and saw a sign at one that said, “No Smoking Aloud.” I thought about pointing it out to the person showing us around, but decided not to so it would be a warning for others that this just might not be the place you wanted to send your child to.
Barb: I was on the Isle of Man this summer. A strange place in the Irish sea between Ireland and England, it has its own language and money, a Viking castle, and Manx cats. The island isn’t short on atmospherics. That’s why I particularly appreciated this sign on a local bulletin board.
Liz: Sign errors drive me crazy. The worst ones are the random apostrophes that people use when there is NO possessive anything in the words…
Julie: Barb, that sign makes me laugh! I tend to fix errors in my head, so I can move past them on signs. Though they can be jarring. And, as in Sherry’s case, give you more information than you realized.
Jessie: I love all of your comments! I tend to notice errors in signs too, but my favorite is nostalgic signs with old-fashioned type or imagery. Maybe it is the historical writer in me that explains why I adore spotting “ghost signs” on brick buildings. There is one on an old building at an intersection in Maine that I pass on my way to the beach. Every time I see it I think of the way life must have been back when that sign was freshly painted on the brick, high above the street. Charming!
Readers, how about you? Have you encountered any memorable signs?