It seems to me that we’ve all ben experiencing what might be called a state of heightened mental awareness for the past year and a half. Anxiety, fear, depression, paranoia, and not just the normal everyday kind, either. So, I thought it might be healthy and wise to take a different perspective on things for a bit, a change from the regular diet of pandemics, climate change, fires, floods and politics, and see things differently. Because, in the words of possibly the least favourite Beatles song: “Obla-di, obla-da, life goes on”.
Another song comes to mind as I think of all the advice, warnings and outright commands we’ve had posted throughout our lives: “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign; blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?” There are so many great signs out there, guaranteed to raise a smile. Strangely though, the least funny signs are the ones that try too hard. Most of the ones outside churches fall into that category for some reason. Well, here are a few signs I’ve seen that can be applied to aspects of life as we know it, with just a twist of warped humour (the best kind?).
Signs to make you read twice: “Our mountains aren’t just funny, they’re hill areas”. “Turning vegan would be a missed steak”. “Crushing pop cans is soda pressing”. “A book hit my head and I’ve only my shelf to blame”. “Tried to grab the fog. I mist.”
Animal lovers can be a bit enthusiastic about their pets, but some can have a more balanced attitude: “I called my dog 6miles, so I can tell people I walk 6miles every day”. Such people know that dogs just enjoy the ride but cats want to drive. “What do you call a dog with a hammer? Labrathor”.
Here are some signs for those concerned about the climate, diet and health: “Save the Earth, It’s the only planet with chocolate”. “Whenever I try to eat healthy, a chocolate bar looks at me and Snickers”. “Does struggling to put on your jeans count as cardio?” My favourite, or rather, the one I most relate to: “Try resistance training: refuse to go to the gym”. Here’s one to encourage you and your diet: “I don’t want to brag, but I finished my 14-day diet in three hours!” You can always argue with health nuts: “Any salad is a Caesar salad if you stab it enough”.
But I must be careful. There are people out there with thin skins and short fuses about serious issues. These are especially for them: “Life is short: if you can’t laugh at yourself, call me and I will”. “Wishing a Happy whatever doesn’t offend you”. “Please cancel my subscription to your issues”. “I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you”. “The first step is admitting you’re a problem”. “Dear Math, grow up and solve your own problems”. “I’m not passive aggressive; unlike “some” people”.
In our modern, rushed and technological world, there are some who can get lost in the technology and begin to live in a rather odd world of their own. For them, let me present: “Put the phone down and nobody gets hurt”. “Auto correct can go straight to hell”. “I named my iPod “Titanic”, it’s syncing now”. “Life is like a game of chess; I don’t know how to play chess”.
This is for the musicians (and especially for Mo, who will never hear this said to him): “If you suck at playing the trumpet, that’s probably why”. “If you like old Dean Martin songs about moons looking like pizza, try this: When you’re down by the sea, and an eel bites your knee, that’s a moray… “(That one is for Dan, of course).
Naturally, the politically conscious need a break after the past few years. The Brits need a break now. To provide a different focus for the Qanon conspiracies theorists and Trumpists, a more harmless slogan: “Ban pre-shredded cheese: make America grate again”. The former Pres and the current PM of the UK inspired this one: “The problem with practical jokes is that they sometimes get elected”. And a shout of gratitude to Jim Beveridge for relaying this one: “Next election, vote for a Muppet, because you’re going to get one anyway”.
Signs are so useful, aren’t they? They can express how you feel in short, pithy sentences. Sometimes they can be quite profound, like: “Butterflies are not what they used to be”. Or the deep wisdom of: “Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular”. For the more spiritually deep among us, those who think profound thoughts as they sit contemplating their navels, apparently minor problems can assume serious meditative confusion, such as: “My mood ring is missing, and I don’t know how I feel about that”. There are even signs to teach journalists and writers of all kinds, warning them of the fearful danger that can arise when basic rules of grammar and punctuation are forgotten. And this is especially for the reporters here at the Times, not to mention Pat who is very aware of the problem. Here is a sentence that can mislead: “I like cooking my family and my pets”. The moral is this: “Use commas, they save lives”. (For those who need it spelled out: “I like cooking, my family, and my pets”.
For writers of all kinds: “I have a pen that writes underwater. It can write other words too”. Then there are those who send cards saying “Congrats!” because they can’t spell congrajlashins.
It is my sincere hope that this little excursion into an alternate way of looking at life will help to lighten your load, clear your mind, and even bring a smile. None of these sayings are original, and I would recommend that you try and think up your own. Example: “Be alert! The nation needs lerts”. Or even this encouragement to think for yourself: “Only dead fish go with the flow”. Which reminds me of the signs outside the new-fangled cemetery in Ottawa. You know, the ones where people get cremated and placed in niches in walls instead of coffins in the ground: “Think outside the box”.
All right, I think that’s enough for now. Life these days can be hard to take, so try to find a way to laugh, or even smile at the strange world we live in. Remember these two things: “Obla-di, obla-da, life goes on; la-la-la-la life goes on”. Deep thoughts there, obviously inspired by Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. And the second things is: “He who laughs last didn’t get it”.