A warning to my readers: I have located a rarely-used extra gear in the transmission of my sarcasm today. Some of you were nearly injured the last time I made fun of signage, so please chew your food and swallow it, empty your bladders, climb off your extension ladders and proceed with caution.
Sometimes, what signs lack in clarity, they more than compensate for in entertainment value. Since most of my sign reading involves either trying to get myself un-lost or scouring for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, I’m delighted whenever I find a sign I don’t actually need that also doesn’t require correcting. In honour of finding one such sign today, I’m sharing it with you. I had my camera along on a “field trip” of teachers marking district exams downtown today, so I was readily equipped to snap a photo of this awesome sign. I believe my actual words were, “I need to put that on my blog.” Serendipity, indeed.
First, let’s look at the grammatical factors at play in this sign. It begins politely, with the “Please” both capitalized to start the statement and italicized for emphasis. I could nitpick about the omission of the period after “dog,” but this isn’t technically an independent clause because there isn’t technically a subject (dog is the object here, non-grammarians.) In a move that makes the clouds part, light burst from the heavens and pulse to the tempo of upbeat angel song, the sign-maker has selected the correct form of “it’s.” “Maximum” is also clearly abbreviated rather than referring to a specific male name, which would make this sign address a very narrow–yet highly masculine-sounding–audience. My heart is full. (I am rather pathetic.)
Clearly, the image is the problem with this notice. If I take this sign literally, this incredible pet owner manages to somehow capture his dog’s turds on a pancake flipper before they hit the ground. Elevating the difficulty of this task is the assumption that said canine produces completely round nuggets of nasty. Try to catch a tennis ball on a kitchen implement sometime; it’s not an easy task. Further adding to the pressure here is the fact that this incredible pooch does not squat to make his deposit, but rather casually drops the poop (in a high wind, apparently, and while barking) much like a sheep or a guinea pig. It seems this is a non-event for him, despite the super-human response of his human caregiver and the utterly staggering diameter of that turd. Seriously, the proportion of the image suggests his poop is bigger around than the middle of his thigh. You just looked at your upper leg and shuddered: I know you did.
Examining the sign further, I see the dog seems to have cropped ears, which I firmly oppose as an animal lover. Thus endeth my statement about humane dog ownership. Clearly, the dog has the upper hand in every other way in this image.
Does it bother anyone else that this man in this photograph does not seem to have a baggie for his prize? Even though Sherman is trained to poop only at home and has not defecated on a leashed walk in about nine months (yay, me!) I always carry a bag or two in case of unexpected movements. This guy, though, has obviously forgotten his bags and is heroically carrying a nugget in each hand, all while attempting (it seems successfully) to capture his dog’s latest production before it touches the blessed grass belonging to the City of Edmonton. What a guy, friends! Maybe he’ll juggle next.
In all seriousness, I am very anal (pun intended) about dog poop, and I want to launch into a passionate spiel when I see folks walking dogs and allowing them to squat wherever they want, even on people’s lawns. I fully support people picking up after their dogs. There is no question about that. What I also support is ensuring the people who create signage about responsible dog ownership have actually walked (0r at least seen) a dog in their lifetimes.
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