Signs of the Times

When you’re a trucker out on the road, one of the most familiar sights that keeps you in the straight and narrow is the large LED road signs scattered intermittently throughout the nation.

I’ve often wondered who in the heck thinks up those little messages. Sometimes, they make me laugh out loud, and I give a mental high five to the unknown comedian sitting behind a desk in some Department of Transportation office somewhere.

Sometimes, the messages are so outrageously intellectual, I think the author either recently graduated from Harvard OR is the newest member of kindergarten class. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for these intelligent and informative (and sometimes hilarious) billboard messages that have become a highlight of my long days of solitaire driving.

What incredible talent must be hiding in the Department of Transportation! I think it must be celebrities incognito. I imagine a nerdy little man in his forties stuffed behind a computer screen in an obscure office somewhere in New Mexico. With coffee mug in hand, or maybe a beer or three, he spends many hours of every day competing with some middle-age matron with cat-eye glasses and stiletto stompers somewhere in Arizona.

These two intellectuals, along with an author elite from each of our fifty states, each in their own little cubicle, unwittingly, perhaps purposefully, must really enjoy engaging in poetic ad wars to see who can come up with the dooziest doozie of a road sign.

Unfortunately, a few red-neck truckers of my acquaintance, those who seem to have no appreciation for the greatness of the written word, might call these messages bone dry pretzel jokes. Why, bless my soul. These illustrious literary gems will go down in history along with Emily Bronte’s Tempest. Wait. Maybe it was Shakespeare’s. Well, it was one of them Greats.

I expect these great road sign authors are under-appreciated. I doubt the big wigs running the Department of Transportation in each of our Fair Fifty, actually realize how we thousands of truckers hold our collective breath each day watching for the newest literary gaffe to pop up on the screen. We sigh; we laugh; we grin; we grind, and we groan. And sometimes, we whisper a prayer of thanks, for once again, we are delivered from trucking monotony.

You might not realize that we have formed a Trucker Chain from the East Coast to the West Coast and from Canada to Mexico to support and assess these marvelous Signs of the Times. It may surprise you to learn that daily, we American Trucker Patriots do exercise our democratic right to cast our VOTE that we may classify and preserve the history of our all-important road signs.

By the way, our road sign elections are fair and square with a certified 40% accuracy and a semi-guaranteed absence of fraud. For a list of Road Sign Reward winners, send a check or money order of fifty buckaroos to Maggie MaGee, Box ICU, MSNBS. 

I wonder if those copy-writin’ winners have any inkling how much we depend on those road sign messages. A couple years ago I started writing them down in my diary since I greatly feared these literary gems might be lost to history. Somebody has got to keep track. Along with the Ever Lovin’ Brothers, I say, “Let it be me.”

It seems that the great traffic wizards have decreed we must get a new message each week. I am thankful for this occasional variety, for it takes me several days to assimilate each message. As near as I am able to detect, these bulletins cover a few basic categories. I may have missed a few, but here’s my latest compilation.

Safety

Hey hey! You, YOU!! Get off of your phone!

Drivers, unite your seat belts.

Fender bender? Save your rear. Quickly clear.

Don’t barrel through work zones.

Cats have nine lives. You are NOT a cat. Buckle up.

Leave speed to Keanu Reeves. Drive the limit.

Hans says Solo down. Leia off the gas.

(Mine eyes have seldom beheld such genius. I wonder how long it took to pen those last two.)

Distracted Driving

One text or call could WRECK it all

Get over your selfie. Send it later.

Texting and driving? Oh, Cell, no!

Valentine’s Day

No one wants a texting driver for a valentine.

No valentine? Your seat belt will hold you.

You make my heart race, but slow down cowboy.

(Byron ballads can’t hold a candle to these words of the heart written by our very own DOT Dandies.)

Easter

Hey, you honey bunny, be eggstra respectful on your holiday drive.

(Very tricky word play, doncha think? Well done!)

Independence Day

Bam bang boom! Leave your neighbor plenty of room.

(Extraordinarily clever.)

Halloween

Lay off the witches brew! Drive sober. Zero fatalities, a ghoul we can all live with.

(HAHAHA, too funny. These road writers have more skull (I mean skill) than ghost (I mean most.)

Thanksgiving

Feast your eyes on the road. Drive safely. 

Buckling up could save your giblets

Gobble gobble, go easy on the throttle.

Keep your stuffing on the inside. Buckle up.

Don’t cause a traffic yam. Drive alert.

(We get an overabundance of Thanksgiving road sign messages. I am so thankful when this holiday is eaten up and digested so we can roll on, Columbia, roll on.)

Christmas

Wobbling after gobbling? Designate a driver.

He sees you when you’re speeding

Drive hammered. Get nailed.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Keep your eyes on the RO, RO, ROAD!!

(Face palm. Methinks Rudolph was a bit tipsy when he wrote that one.)

Super Bowl

Tailgating is for game days, not roadways.

(I confess. I haven’t the foggiest idea what this means. How is tailgating related to game days?)

COVID 19

Keep your distance on highways and in person.

Shop alone. Stop COVID19

No close encounters of any kind

Thank you front line workers. That’s it. That’s the sign.

(Say what? That’s IT?)

Hungry? Drive on. Need the restroom? Hold it. Do not stop in our city.

(Seriously? But…but…but…No butts!)

Arrive alive. Then wear a mask.

(You guys are slipping. That one doesn’t even rhyme.)

I confess. I’m a little confused about the mask thing. You wouldn’t believe how often I see people driving down the road all alone safely enclosed inside their own personal vehicle, yet they are wearing a freaking mask. Are the peoples of the land now afraid of their own germs? Signs of the times, my friends. Signs of the times.

I might not be quite as bright as those road sign writers, but I’ll give it a whirl. How about this?

Don’t ASK. Just wear your MASK!

Think, think, think. I’ve got it! This is my best one…

Join the thugs. Cover your mugs.

Keep up the good work, Road Sign Authors! CNN is looking for talent.