Friday, July 01, 2005

Logic Lapse Leaves Me Laughing

I used to work in Hendersonville for a couple years, and now my girlfriend lives up there.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Parkway connects 65 north to the Hendersonville and Gallatin areas. I've been on this road a bunch. I love it because you can go 70 mph on Vietnam Vets, even though when you get back to I 65 you have to go 45pmh.

Anyway, last night, after dropping my girl off, I'm driving west on Vietnam Vets, headed back to 65 for a return to Nashville, and I noticed something new. Someone, presumably some local government authority, has erected a large, flashy, impressive electronic sign across both lanes of the parkway.

What is this sign for, you ask? Is it for traffic updates such as "heavy construction, choose alternate route?" No, no it is not. Is it for helpful information such as weather updates? Nope.

This sign is there to inform you of the all-important pollution levels. It read as follows:

"Air Pollution Alert
Consider Carpooling Today"


This is how we're spending tax dollars now?

I have two major complaints about this sign.

First, who in the world is really going to be swayed from driving their own car to work because of the advice of a giant sign? Anyone here seen Singles? "People love their cars." I can see it now..."I was going to drive to work today, but then I remembered that sign...and decided to change my mind. I'll be carpooling today. The sign knows best." Silly. I mean, I get that Nashville wants to guard against air pollution--to help keep us from becoming smog-enveloped like L.A. and other cities. And I get that they want to spend some tax dollars on encouraging folks to carpool. That makes sense. But an electronic sign? Come on! Give me a commercial on the radio like the "click it or ticket" crap. Give me something. Heck, most people don't even read signs they see while driving.

Second, isn't it more than a little too late to be advising me to carpool WHEN I'M ALREADY ON THE ROAD DRIVING?!?!?! I mean, this is the silliest thing I've heard in a long time. It reminds me of when my brother and I used to wander up to McDonald's employees and say, "Hey, why do you have a sign stating that you carry brail menus for the blind? I mean, it's not like the blind people who need the menus can see that sign in order to read it." Then our Dad would come by and drag us by the ear back to our booth. But the concept is the same. Someone trying to do something helpful, but going about it in the least logical way possible.

I just laughed so hard about it I had to write something up about it. Seriously, I giggled all the way back to my home, wondering what the government official who dreamt up this winner might look like.

Thought you guys might enjoy that. Anyone else have stories of ridiculously illogical attempts at well-intentioned ideas?


At 7/01/2005 09:50:00 AM, Blogger Kevin Rector said...

That's very insightful commentary on the sign.

Remember the movie L.A. Story where Steve Martin would have conversations with the sign. At least I think it was L.A. Story and I think he had conversations with a sign. I'm sure that it's Steve Martin though.

At 7/01/2005 10:37:00 AM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

Yeah. LA Story! I almost mentioned that...because Steve Martin kind of listens to the sign there...and he's about the only person I can think of that might pay attention when the sign says "you should carpool".

Well, him and Homer Simpson. Remember when Homer slams on his brakes while on the interstate, coming to a stop so he can read each billboard. And he reads an anniversary-gift-tyhemed billboard aloud, "This year, buy her English Muffins." And then he says, "Whatever you say, Mr. Billboard!"

Too much!

At 7/01/2005 11:52:00 AM, Blogger PaulNoonan said...

Perhaps they are advocating hitchhiking.

These signs are the best examples of pork barrel spending. They are useless to anyone that has a radio in the car.


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