Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Please Careful Readly

That’s a bad sign — a very bad sign. What is it driving at?

Only three simple words adorn that diamond-shaped sign in Northern California, yet two of ‘em are transposed, and one’s suffix is affixed to the end of another, creating a bogus word in the process.


PLEASE? Don’t go. You please me.

SLOW? I figured you’d come in last. Your second-place finish surprises me.

DRIVE? Put the pedal to the medal, man. You should be embarrassed about letting SLOW overtake you.

LY? You’re one wayward adverbial suffix! You’re parked on the wrong DRIVE. Like pokes and motions, you should follow SLOW.

Now I must confess. You’ve been (April) fooled. This “traffic wreck” was intentional. The sign, which went viral in the summer of 2013, was installed on private property near Bell’s Preschool in Auburn for safety reasons.

In a statement to the Auburn Journal, owner Lorraine Bell said: “This whimsical sign, which reads ‘PLEASE SLOW DRIVELY,’ was a gift to the school to be used as part of its campaign to get drivers to slow down when they pass by this school. Intentionally misspelled words are often used to draw the attention of the readers.”

Metaplasm* was employed purposefully, in hopes that drivers would slow down in an attempt to process that head-scratching sign. Speeds would plummet. Schoolchildren would survive. For that, please loud cheerly.

Having said that…

Couldn’t the mission backfire? A driver distracted by the jumbled mess could fail to notice a car in front of him — or a preschooler running into the street. For that, please stern condemnly.

* The intentional change to the spelling of a word or words

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