Monday, December 29, 2014
I saw a sign on a quiet, suburban residential street that said Slow Handicapped Child. And that sign makes me wonder a lot of things. It’s like my blind friend who has a sign on her street that says Blind Person Area. The sign wasn’t her idea. Her mother arranged to have it put up, much to my blind friend’s embarrassment. But I wonder if there are more accidents on that block than on any other block because of that sign. Because if I was driving and I saw that sign I’d envision a blind person suddenly staggering into the street like a drunken Helen Keller so I’d slam on the brakes as a precautionary measure and probably get rear-ended. So I wonder if people freak out similarly when they see that Slow Handicapped Child sign. Or maybe they’re not sure what hell they’re supposed to do when they see a sign like that, just like no one knows what they’re supposed to do when they see those obnoxious Baby on Board signs: “Damn! I was going to randomly smash into that car but now I can't because there’s a baby on board!” Or remember when the government had that stupid color-coded terrorist threat warning system? I don’t think the threat level was ever anything other than orange but what if it ever switched to red? What the hell were we all supposed to do then? “Uh oh it’s red! That means I have to immediately….. um…….” But anyway, I wonder if the word Slow on the Slow Handicapped Child sign is intended to be an adjective referring to the Handicapped Child rather than an admonition of how to operate motor vehicles in his/her vicinity. And if so, was this Handicapped Child physically slow or mentally slow? Because when I was a criplet at cripple elementary school there were kids that were officially referred to as “slow.” But those were only the kids that were mentally “slow.” I mean, physically, I was slow as hell but nobody ever officially referred to me as slow. And nobody uses the word handicapped anymore so I wonder if the Slow Handicapped Child sign is really old and maybe the Child isn’t a child anymore. So then shouldn’t the sign be updated to read Slow Handicapped Adult? But in that case, would anyone still bother to slow down? And I wonder how one goes about getting a sign put up that says Slow Handicapped Child or Blind Person Area. If you want to get a sign put up that says Stop or Yield, I imagine you call City Hall and they have a bunch of those signs lying around in a warehouse somewhere. But there’s probably not much call for signs that say Slow Handicapped Child or Blind Person Area. That sounds like a custom-made order. Signs like that are probably made by either a) prison inmates or b) cripples in a sheltered workshop. They make a lot of license plates in those places so why not signs? Maybe the signs that say Slow Handicapped Child are made by other people who are “slow” and “handicapped.” How ironic would that be?
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