Little signs of the times . . .

It’s almost, but not quite, like those iconic BurmaShave advertisements that once graced Highway 66 across America’s great southwest, since there’s really no overt punchline:

Burma-Shave signs were separated so that passing vehicles would encounter them in sequence, to make up a witty poem, with the final sign, ‘Burma-Shave,’ forming the punchline.

Except that the real punchline in the Recreation Ground’s lovely little signs is that contemporary society probably needs to be reminded of certain responsibilities and cautions: dog poo can be dangerous; supervised play with the proper protective equipment in skate parks is a wise idea, and participants are responsible for their own safety; litter belongs in the bin. All inherently obvious, really, and yet the reminders can help to reinforce good behaviour all around, and contribute to a greater sense of collective well-being.

It’s nice though that the signs are quietly unobtrusive, and yet quite clearly visible; that’s the brilliance of a cohesive aesthetic — you know that the package as a whole is managed well, that its signs say what they mean and mean what they say. As I walked around the park to take a few snaps, I was struck by the cleanliness and tidiness of the facility, so I hoped that the little signs were doing their duty. I’m sure that the relatively stern, but succinct admonitions have only had to be erected after the trustees finally lost patience as the friendly welcome sign’s pleasant request, to ‘please keep our park tidy,’ has been traduced just too many times.

Time will tell if the new little signs will continue to do their job after they become familiar park furniture that’s taken for granted. I do hope they work out well and that everyone visiting the play areas and paths will be even more scrupulous about litter and dogs, both their own and others, and that supervised children will play safely.

I know it’s always a delight to pass by the park and to see folks of all ages enjoying themselves there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *