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Do You Think That’s Really Necessary?

January 20th, 2007

I saw something on the road last night that made me smack myself for not having my digital camera with me. There was some road construction going on, and so they had a setup to warn people at a distance, so they would merge right and not hit the construction area.

Now, you might not think that would be worthy of taking a photo and blogging on it. But this warning display was different. It consisted of a vertical array of electronic lights that easily reached 25 feet in height, and was at least 10 feet across. This was nighttime, so it all stood out like a sore thumb. There were orange lights arrayed across the bottom. Above that was one of those electronic message boards that scrolls messages across from one side to the other. Above that were giant yellow arrow chevrons, animated to point you to the right. Above that were flashing yellow “rollers,” the kind seen atop police cars in red and blue (and in Japan, often used outside gas stations). And to top it all off, at the zenith of the sign there were two big bright red circles, divided into pie slices, with the slices turning on and off in a rotating fashion–the one on the left going clockwise, the one on the right going counter-clockwise.

I mean, talk about overdoing it.

But that’s not even the funny part. Here we had this gigantic sign, visible from a mile away, flashing and moving and gyrating all to hell, almost blinding you with its brilliant warning. And at the bottom of the sign, invisible until you got fairly close, was the ubiquitous guy whose job it was to wave a little red baton back and forth.

I laughed so hard I almost had to pull over.

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