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Published:April 8th, 2011 11:12 EST

Signs of the Times: Billboards and Bumper Stickers

By Donna Cavanagh

I love to read signs, billboards, bumper stickers -- anything with words while I am driving  The thing about signs is that they may say one thing, but when drivers are speeding past them, their meanings may get obscured--or maybe not.

Dump Bodies Here - I  have stared at this sign on my way to the chiropractor for the past year. Okay, maybe I have watched the Godfather or The Sopranos way too much, but my first thought was "Do hit men and murderers need a sign to direct them to a place to dump their victims? Are body dumping places the latest business to grow out of the lucrative assassination industry?" 

The sign was displayed right on the main road, so each time I drove past it, I had to wonder why the police and the FBI were not scouring that fenced off lot for missing mobsters.    As it turns out, I misinterpreted the sign.  Apparently, it was about dump trucks.  Last week, the people who own that lot put up a new sign that now reads Dump trucks and bodies available.  In my defense, I am not an expert on trucks, but I think that other people were confused by the original sign too, and that is why the sign was replaced.

Bimbo Bakeries - When I first saw this sign, I had to Google the company and see what they were all about. Well, as it turns out, Bimbo Bakeries is an international baking company with plants in different areas of the United States. This makes me feel better because I would have felt badly if it was a family name. I would have felt worse for the women in that family who had to go around wearing this name.  The teenage years are difficult enough. Could you imagine what a nightmare they would be for a girl named Bimbo? Her life after high school would be no picnic either. What profession does one pursue with the name Bimbo: Doctor, lawyer, lap dancer?  I guess with her family name and the baking expertise already in place, she could become an erotic bakery owner.  Yeah, I could see that working. 

Older Adult Books - Does anyone not see the problem with this sign? The county library bookmobile pulled out in front of me on a highway, and these words were printed in big letters on the back doors.   "Who wants to touch used adult books?" I asked myself. I couldn`t comprehend the need for older adult books. I know that regular library books hold onto an amazing number of germs, but adult books must be ground zero for gross stuff plus the germs for every sexually transmitted disease known to man. 

I continued to stare at the words on the back doors of that van, and a light bulb suddenly went on in my head, and I got it!  This van was not carrying porn, but books for older readers!  Oh well, again, my mistake, but I do think that someone in the county library system has a colorful sense of humor.  Whoever came up with these words for this bookmobile wanted people to think twice.

Don`t spend a fortune on that funeral. A la carte discount funerals give a nice sendoff at half the price. - I saw this beauty in upstate New York while driving to my in-laws.  Touching, don`t you think?  Now, I am not a big funeral person. I think simple is best, but come on! It would be a tad insulting to have my husband and daughter pick and choose the details of my funeral like they would their favorite combo dinner at the local Chinese restaurant. A little respect would be nice.  And I would like to know what do these funeral directors do to make a service a discount?  Do they cut back on the embalming fluid?  Do they re-use coffin liners?  Plastic instead of fresh flowers?  What could they do? 

Satan Lives -  I was on a road in the boonies of Pennsylvania when I saw this cryptic billboard which consisted of nothing but red uppercase letters against a black background.. It was pretty damn dramatic. I was not sure if this sign was an acknowledgment of evil or someone`s idea of bragging rights, so I put the pedal to the metal in case I was in a satanic cult abduction zone and got the hell out of there-- no pun intended.