Take this sign, posted in Alice Keck Park in Santa Barbara. It deals with the environment.
Why do we need this sign? Would you avoid Alice Keck Park if it was missing?
"Gee, Honey. I don't know. Do you think they use pesticides here?"
Immediately across the street we have Alameda Park. This park sure as hell isn't pesticide-free. Earl here, running the world's largest lawn mower, don't have no truck with them eco-freaks. Got cinch bugs? Sod webworms? Hose 'em down with Diazanon. We'll pick up the dead robins later.
If you think Alice Keck Park is pesticide-free, you don't understand the word, "overspray."
So why the misleading and useless sign? Well, Santa Barbara is a tree-hugger hotspot, a center of the Sierra Club wing of the Democratic Party. Any politician who wants to advance in city government is gonna make sure his constituency knows he's on the side of the ladybugs.
(Now, before you get the wrong impression, you should know that I think we should never cut another old-growth tree, all dams should be demolished and all motor vehicles should be banned from National and State Parks. So get off my ass.)
The environment isn't an issue in Houston. But liability is.
Yep. Everybody's freaking out about one health risk or another. Here we have an expensive baked-enamel-on-steel sign informing the public that they found a rabid bat.
What a surprise! Let's see now. Rabies is endemic to the wild animal population. Bats are wild animals that have wide foraging ranges. Ergo, some bats are rabid.
We need a sign to tell us that?
We are asked to leave the area if we see bats. Eek! A bat! Run away! Run away!
If one of us comes into contact with a bat, we're instructed to call the City of Houston Health Department,to get assistance from the government, I suppose. Think about that.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department erected this sign so that teenagers, while smoking cigarettes and enjoying sex without the inconvenience of condoms, will be vigilant about the miniscule threat to their health from rabid animals. They put up the sign because their lawyers told them to.
The only thing worse than a kid getting rabies is getting sued by the kid's parents for failing to warn him.
The other community issue in Houston is the intelligence level of George Bush-admiring Texans. Ya gotta tell 'em everything. For example, it's not uncommon to see signs that say, "Don't bring your gun into this restaurant."
Here's another HP&R gem, specially placed to inform the mouth-breathers:
"Whut's thet over there, Buford?"
"Wull, hail, them's wildflars, RayAnn. Cain't you see thet sign?"
I like the two exclamation points. Underscores the excitement, don't it?