Can’t You Read the Signs?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars this month (Apple marketing VP Phil Schiller immediately deleted his Instagram account and declared that Instagram had “jumped the shark”). Apple will probably buy Twitter next.Pictograms.

I take a lot of pictures both for the beauty and for the story they tell, but I tell most stories with words. 50,000 a year in newspaper columns. Nearly that many again right here. I could write a book …

That said, I just replaced my cellphone because its camera stopped initializing. When I need a quick note about a concert poster or a reminder of what that unusual car or eccentric person looks like, I prefer to snap a picture and text it to my emailbox. Sometimes I send it to one or two selected friends as well.

A quick and informal survey tells me that more than half the people I know do the same. Voice calls are down. Texting is up but texting with pictures and far fewer words is climbing exponentially.

Grocery fliers have both pictures and text, but the amount of text is dropping.

Gekko and I often Skype™ instead of “just” talking on the VOIP phone; it’s the next best thing to being there. OK, that’s not entirely true but having the (moving) picture is better than not having the (moving) picture to go with our words.

A recent story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighted how our communications are changing: “On a cold October night a few years ago, I got out of bed and came downstairs because I realized my cat was still outside. I turned on the porch light, opened the main door, called him and went into the kitchen for a drink of water. When I came back, there was a young man standing in my living room.”

After worrying over the story itself, a cop friend suggested, “Put a Quarantined! Infectious Disease! sign out front.”

Private Property SignHe thinks home invaders can read. (Jeezum, what’s our school system coming to, teaching burglars to read!)

“. . . attached to an explosive charge.”

It’s not the sign that will stop the burglar or home invader. It’s not even the silhouette of a weapon on the sign. It’s the 700 security cameras that take his picture as he walks up the sidewalk, turns up the lane, and steps onto the porch.

The world is progressing back to cuneiform.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

I carry a 17″ ThinkPad workstation that my friend Liz Arden dubbed the “patio stone” but I do hope the next big Android isn’t a stone tablet.

4 thoughts on “Can’t You Read the Signs?

  1. The sign in my yard says “No Entry. Trespassers will be Violated”; and I also carry a “17”. It is a “Glock 17 Semi-automatic Shootpad”, just in case someone miss-reads. The *17* is not a patio stone, but a tombstone to any who is brazen enough to ignore the sign.

    It is old technology but user friendly, and with a high capacity for data storage; but once I hit *Send*, the recipient mail box better have Kevlar.

    — George

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