All the driving I’m doing affords me many hours to look at things. There are all sorts of interesting things out there, plenty disturbing or distressing things (mostly driver-related), and a certain number of humorous or ironic ( though not by design) things.  I see a variety of signs–exit signs, advertisements, speed limit signs, the dreaded “Road work ahead” signs, and other signs.  Most are plebian but there are a few that stand out, for one reason or another.  These are a few of the most recent ones that made me smile…and contemplate their real meaning, real or unintended.

Not sure how that male arm got there, but…

I’m on the highways, toll roads unfortunately,  in Illinois and the Chicago area relatively often, so one of my “regulars” is the sign along I-88 that cautions drivers “Speed limit enforced by camera.”  If you think about it for just a minute, there’s a wealth of fun in that sign.  First, the sign actually only contains a speed “suggestion”, since the only time anyone ever goes the speed limit or below is if there’s a traffic jam.  At those time, a driver seeing the “55” sign thinks she would really love to be going “only” 55.  The rest of the time, 70 mph is the speed limit de jour and woe betide the person trying to adhere to the suggestion…whoops, I mean, the law.  Said person is a traffic obstacle and accident-cause waiting to happen.

Wow! This isn’t the sign I was talking about but it IS a sign I’ve seen often when I visit my friends. Welcome to East Cleveland and BTW, I’ve seen the van with the curtains drawn and the police inside, waiting to nab offenders. Since the speed limit is often set at 30 instead of 35, they get some.

Secondly if, as the sign implies, they take pictures of all speeders, I’d love to have that concession!!  They’ll have a rouges’ gallery of every single driver every single day during every non-traffic-jam moment.  I guess, though, that if they send speeding tickets to all of us going over 55, they could finance the cost of prison for all the former governors now calling one of these facilities home and maybe make a dent in the state’s substantial debt. Now that I think of it, there’s a related sign at the drive-through-them-as-fast-as-you-can open road tolling booths–“Pay missed tolls online.”  When you’re flying through at 70+ mph, it’s difficult to tell if the K-Mart blue-light-special light went on (indicating your little I-Pass device was read) or didn’t, so how would you know if you need to go online and pay?

Speaking of governors in prison, when I first began driving to Chicago, a sign at every toll plaza had the name of the plaza and the words, “Rod Blagojevich, Governor.”  I could never figure out how that last name was pronounced…until Rod hit the national news and then I knew.  Next thing, all the signs contained only the name of the plaza.  Think what that little caper cost a state already the worst off financially in the country!  And with at least two other governors in prison, consider all the signs they’ve gone through.  It would be lovely if the three were in prison making those signs, (or license plates) but alas, that’s probably not considered fit work anymore.  Now they get to teach Spanish or whatever Rod’s doing.

Do you see Marlon Brando anywhere? Mark Wahlberg?

The next sign is related but if anything a bit weirder…or at least open to more enjoyable imaginings.  Along the Pennsylvania toll road are signs indicating “Speed enforced by aircraft.”  Really, this makes me laugh just considering the Monty-Phython-esque possibilities.  How does that work exactly?  Dropping bombs on you?   Dropping rocks?  Some sort of excrement or paint to irrevocably mark your vehicle until the highway patrol can find you (provided it hasn’t  hit your windshield and you’re in the ditch?)  Buzz you until you run off the road or stop?  Pull you up into the belly of the plane?  Drop the rabbit thrown over the wall in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail?”  Or speaking of that, dropping the knight guarding the bridge on you…or what’s left of him?  Just let your thoughts roam for a bit.

Moving on from speed enforcement signs.  Last trip I passed a pickup truck bearing on its door the admonition/warning:  “Fire extinguisher inside.”  The the driver was smoking.   Let’s hope the extinguisher doesn’t deploy its contents inside when smoke reaches it.

I couldn’t resist this one, even though it should really be in a truck!!

Oh, yes.  I know some of you will if not enjoy, at least gnash your teeth at this last one.  On a large billboard along I-80 is a sign showing the picture of a nice-looking man who’s a farmer.  The text of the billboard reads:

“Who cares for the land?  I do.”

It’s a Monsanto ad.

  1. […] long ago I did a post on different amusing signs I’ve seen while traveling (  After our last trip, I have a few more for your viewing, or reading, enjoyment.  A good laugh […]

  2. Imagineer says:

    It’s strange but signs seem to have become a form of spam. Nice post.

    • So many signs say something more than what the actual words say, unintended and humorous. But there are so many signs of all sorts, including billboards, that it is very like spam. Thanks for digging into some old posts. Glad you came by.