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Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Do this, don't do that: can't you read the sign?
Signs and stickers: some funny, some curious, says humour columnist. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Sometimes signs are funny. Sometimes they can get you in trouble. I saw two on a recent drive into the city. The first was plastered to the back end of a dilapidated old car at the edge of a road, “PLEASE DON’T HIT ME! I’m not 100% sure about my coverage”.

The next one passed us on Highway 16. The sticker was a take-off on those yellow, diamond-shaped signs new parents put in the back window of their car, the ones that urgently proclaim, “BABY ON BOARD!” By their mere presence are they some sort of lucky charm; warding off bad drivers and unforeseen accidents?

Also, if the presence of babies requires added caution, what about children past the age of three? Or adults? Do they cease to matter? You don’t see signs like, “DIFFICULT TEEN ABOARD” or “AGING WRITER WITHIN”, although I guess you could, but it’d be a warning for reasons other than safety.

However, enough of my foolish ramblings. The sign I saw on the passing car announced, “ADULTS ON BOARD! We want to live too!” Funny stuff.

I’ve had a bit of experience with stickers myself. At my recent school reunion I was given a large one and asked to print my name large, so people could tell who in the world I was after all these years.

One woman rushed up to me soon after I entered the building, wrapped me in a bear hug and exclaimed how good it was to be together again. She spoke knowledgeably of school days, class antics and treasured memories. I laughed delightedly, returned the hug and agreed it had been far too long, all the while thinking – Who the heck is this person? Leaning my head sideways in a careless gesture of bonhomie, I frantically read her name tag. In truth, that still didn’t help me remember her, but at least I was able to address the woman by name. Whew.

Then there was the time I helped out at a kid’s camp. There were over a hundred kids to feed, so organizers decided to run them through a chute, much like a herd of cattle. Well, that may be my own interpretation of the events, based on life as a cattleman’s daughter, but it was true.

At one end of the line, people issued stickers. On them we printed the kids' name in capital letters, and a sentence indicating what condiments they wished to have smeared on a hotdog further along. I had a sticker too, just to show the kids how it was done.

After a wild couple of hours, I pushed the hair away from my exhausted face, got in my car and drove to the grocery store. Oddly enough, as I trudged through fresh produce, I noticed people staring, smiling, and even pointing at me. What was up?

Then, as I reached for some radishes, a white-haired lady leaned toward me, winked and said, “Wieners are thataway, dearie.”

With a sigh of painful recollection I looked down at the message emblazoned across my chest. 

"My name’s Helen and I’d like a hotdog with mustard and ketchup."


Made a fool of myself yet again. What’s new?

Helen Row Toews is an author and humorist, works as an EA and school bus driver, and carries a license to drive anything on wheels. She grew up and still resides on the family farm near Marshall, Saskatchewan, where Charolais cattle and gophers flourish (the latter being purely coincidental and highly unappreciated). You can find her online at There, you can learn more about her humorous Prairie Wool Books, or newly released fantasy series, Runestaff Chronicles.