Park signs of the times


“Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

In 1971 the Canadian group Five Man Electrical Band released their hit Signs. It still gets a fair amount of airplay and is a favorite of oldies streams on Internet radio sites. The video and lyrics are below if you fancy a blast from your past.

But the notion of signs got me thinking about a recent stroll I took through my local park. There appears to be a growing number of rules involved with a day at the park, all of them posted on signs. Along with “Playing fields are reserved for permit holders” and of course the ubiquitous Montreal parking signs explaining who can park where and for how long and on what days maintenance will be done; that’s three or four signs on one pole.

I assume the little graphic is a gavel indicating a courtroom appearance and not a hammer alluding to corporal punishment

The first signs that struck me were the two below informing people that the park is off-limits from midnight to five in the morning and that feeding the local wildlife will land you in serious trouble (I assume the little graphic is a gavel indicating a courtroom appearance and not a hammer alluding to corporal punishment).

ParkSign1

The other sign that caught my eye was the no alcohol, in fact “Zero Tolerance”. Again the gavel/hammer adds severity to the sign.

ParkSign2

So if you were to be caught in the park at, say, 2:30 am, sipping from a glass of Riesling and feeding a squirrel while – something I know I’ve done numerous times – you can expect to feel the full force of the law. I have a feeling that once in prison and asked by a fellow inmate what you’re in for, you’ll be in for some serious jailhouse bullying.

Perhaps the city could have saved time and money and just posted the following sign instead of the numerous ones now up.

ParkSign3

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said “You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do”
So I took off my hat, I said “Imagine that. Huh! Me workin’ for you!”
Whoa-oh-oh

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

And the sign said anybody caught trespassin’ would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and-a yelled at the house, “Hey! What gives you
the
right?”
“To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in”
“If God was here he’d tell you to your face, Man, you’re some kinda sinner”

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Now, hey you, mister, can’t you read?
You’ve got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can’t even watch, no you can’t eat
You ain’t supposed to be here
The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside
Ugh!

And the sign said, “Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray”

But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn’t have a
penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said, “Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ’bout me. I’m alive and doin’ fine.”
Wooo!

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Sign
Sign, sign

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