Quiet Desperation

Something to almost stop and think about

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 8/1/21

Have you noticed those new, red, octagonal signs they’ve been putting up around town? I’m not sure what their purpose is. Maybe you do. If so, please let me in on it. Each of the signs has four …

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Quiet Desperation

Something to almost stop and think about

Posted

Have you noticed those new, red, octagonal signs they’ve been putting up around town?

I’m not sure what their purpose is. Maybe you do. If so, please let me in on it.

Each of the signs has four white letters on it.

“S,” “T,” “O” and “P.”

I figure it must be some kind of acronym. But what?

Maybe “Sleep Tonight On Pillows.”

It seems like a lot of money was spent on something that no one pays any attention to.

There’s another thing that bothers me. They put them at most of the intersections, right there on the corners.

They distract drivers who slow down to read what they say and cause accidents or near-accidents.

Living near a high school, I see teenagers do it all the time. Instead of sailing through an intersection, they hesitate. I think it’s because they’re curious about the signs.

“Sick Texans Often Puke.”

Teenaged drivers shouldn’t have to try to figure out what the meaning of a sign is while they’re on the way to something important.

As I said, all of the signs are red. That makes them stand out. It’s one more strike against them because, as we know, red is an aggressive color. It stands out.

A friend of mine who believes we have “visitors” is convinced the signs are intended for them and it’s an acronym for “Sluve Tupalulu Ornidoo Peppitone.”

He says that’s, “Don’t forget, Martians: Your second cup of coffee is free at all Roswell restaurants.”

The signs add visual “clutter” just where we don’t need it: at busy intersections. It’s tough enough there already.

Since I love ciphers, I tried a couple of simple letter substitutes with my decoder ring, but what I came up with didn’t make sense.

“Lucky Strike means fine tobacco” was one of them.

And “Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.”

I must have done something wrong.

There’s another one of these intersection signs I don’t understand. There are fewer of them, and that’s nice, but the meaning of the letters on them is lost to me and everyone else.

“Y,” “I,” “E,” “L” and “D.”

My friend thinks it’s just another attempt to communicate with our friends from outer space.

“What do the letters mean?” I asked.

He told me it was an intergalactic marketing plea.

“Well, what is it?”

“`Buy your muffler from us, not the Chinese.’”

I am all for trying to boost the U.S. economy, but why can’t it be done somewhere else?

Everyone knows that intersections are lively and at times entertaining areas where a lot of things can go wrong.

If I’m going through an intersection and texting, I can’t be bothered by a sign that’s designed to appeal to little green men.

I tried to get an answer from our traffic engineers, but they just laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

You and I know that things go on behind our backs all the time. There are subliminal messages everywhere.

When someone in the government says, “A wet bird does not fly at night” it doesn’t mean “A wet bird does not fly at night.”

I dare you to put that in your decoder ring.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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