Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Way Life Should be

Two of my DH's sisters came to Boston to visit us this past week, so we decided to show them the sights. Last Friday, we drove up to York, Maine, passing through a little sliver of New Hampshire on our way. As you probably know, I'm a devotee of silly signs and frankly the NH motto, "Live Free or DIE!" sounds vaguely threatening to me. (I guess it's all in how you say it.) So I was pleased to notice Maine's slogan is "The Way Life Should Be."

Doesn't that sound nice?

That's what I thought. Then we stopped at the Maine Welcome Center and saw the many signs posted for our benefit. I realized Maine has it's own ideas about the way life should be . . . and it isn't shy about sharing them!

Sort of looks like Maine thinks I don't know enough to take a drink when I'm thirsty.

Oh, darn! And I was so going in after that half-eaten ham sandwich! NOT!

I barely tolerate this sort of nagging from my mother (who still makes it her business to monitor the state of my bladder when we travel together!) but I'm not going to let a state make me feel guilty about a Hershey bar!

These are just a few of the signs posted at the Welcome Center. There was another one devoted to the proper way to stretch after a prolonged car trip. Another that warned there should be NO PETS, NO FOOD OR DRINK, NO SHOES NO SHIRT NO SERVICE ...the list could go on. I was giggling incoherently by the time we got back to the car.

All I can say is it's a good thing Maine has wonderful people and seriously gorgeous scenery because their sign department is running badly amok!

Seeing the picture-perfect lighthouse on its own little island at the end of Nubble Road in York was certainly worth the trip!

And for sheer beauty, you can't beat Ogunquit Beach.

And fortunately there was not a sign in sight!

But coming from Massachusetts I certainly can't throw any stones about state slogans or silly signs. The Commonwealth just spent $300,000 for an ad agency to come up with "Massachusetts~Make it Yours" when they already had the perfectly good "Massachusetts~Spirit of America" on plenty of license plates. (I wonder how many kids could have been fed, how many more cops could have been hired, heck! how many potholes could have been filled for $300K?)

And in the silly sign category . . . our State House has no less than 3 large signs marking the "General Hooker Entrance" (Non-hookers evidently have to go in by another door!) Ok, the signs are supposed to commemorate General Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker, hero of the Civil War, but why not just have one sign with his full name on it instead of 3 that can be so easily misconstrued?

Unless that's the door where our politicians enter and some wag just couldn't resist the irony . . .

Now it's your turn. What's your state motto? Seen any silly signs lately?

PS. Don't forget to enter my MERRY CHRISTMAS BALL CONTEST! The drawing for the $100 B&N gift card will be held December 1st!


Jane L said...

Good Morning Emily! So my husband and I spent the past year in West Virginia, since he was in a small river town one would expect there to be a bait shop. Well at first no, then close to the end of our stay at the entrance to the state park a guy opens one up and not kidding the name of it is "Master Baits" a BIG red sign! WHAT! ok, so not appropriate at the state park entrance! but it is still there!

EmilyBryan said...

*snicker* Well, they do say the name of a business should be memorable!

Michelle Picard said...

I'm not surprised at the bluntness of the Maine signs. I don't know that they're trying to manage us so much, as that they're just so blunt to begin with, that they feel there's no need to beat around the bush. I love this post. Very funny.

Susanne Saville said...

ROFL! I love that not only does Maine think you don't realize you need a drink when you're thirsty, but they actually suggest TRY WATER. Just in case you think using vodka to assuage your thirst is a good idea. ;) Wonder if there's a Water Council somewhere that needs an advertising a slogan: "TRY WATER!"

EmilyBryan said...

Michelle--I had the distinct impression that the Maine sign department felt I needed a keeper, that I wasn't able make adult choices for myself.

But Massachusetts does that, too. It duns me 5 cents for every soda can and uses that as a stick to get me to recycle. Our town in Missouri provided recycling bins for home use when we set up our garbage pick up. No extra fee. No threat if I didn't comply. They just made it easy to do the responsible thing and trusted their citizens to do it.

EmilyBryan said...

Susan--Got Milk? Try Water! I'm seeing a pattern here.

To be fair, we do drink a lot of things that actually contribute to dehydration. But I was just surprised at the nanny-like sign advising me of that.

BTW, I really do love Maine. I just think the signs are funny.

Sandy said...

LOL They are silly signs, but every state has them.

Congratulations on the great review for The Christmas Ball. I've got to take some to read it soon.

EmilyBryan said...

Indeed they do. I've been wondering about one I've seen often in Massachusetts.


Which I assume is telling me there are lots of people living around. Well, I'm near Boston. Of course, there are lots of people. I have eyes. Why do I need a sign to tell me that?

If it means something else, please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

We go up into Maine just last August, but we didn't take the interstate, so we missed the signs. Too bad, I'd like to have seen my DH's reaction.
THICKLY SETTLED ? I've seen signs warning DENSELY POPULATED or HEAVILY POPULATED before. I don't know why they bother with the signage, people don't pay any attention to STOP OR YIELD signs and they are really important.

EmilyBryan said...

Librarypat--Taking the back roads is probably the best way to go, but my sisters-in-law wanted to stop at the Welcome Centers in each state they passed so they could score free maps!

One thing I've noticed about Boston is that they are very keen about commemorative signs, but street signs that might actually give me a clue where I am? Not so much. It's like, "If you don't know where you are, you aren't supposed to be there anyway!"