Sunday, 8 January 2012

Ignoring The Signs

Whatever you do, while you read this blog, don't think about Elephants.

You're thinking about them, aren't you? The moment you read the word 'Elephants', an image of an Elephant appeared in your head.

And that is what this blog is about. Not Elephants, but not doing what we are told.

I have an armchair at the end of my bed, which had its back to a radiator and faced my bed. Today I decided to turn it through 180 degrees so that it now faces the wall with its back against the foot of my bed. The idea being that when I sit in that chair to practice Sign Language, or think about what to write in my blog, looking at a blank wall will not distract me and therefore aid concentration. As it happens my inspiration for today's blog came from the back of said armchair and had nothing to do with the blank wall.

There is a label on the back of the chair that indicates that the materials used to upholster the chair are resistant to fire. They are not fire proof, just fire resistant. I have taken a photo of the label for you.

Now there are certain people in society (lets call them 'morons') who would look at that label and see it as a challenge. They would want to find out just how "resistant" that upholstery was, and would not be satisfied with the 'claims' made by the label. They would argue that yes, the upholstery on the chair may well be resistant to a solitary dropped cigarette or lone match - but what about a blowtorch? Or perhaps a whole pack of lit cigarettes that just happened fall out of the mouth of a would be Guiness World Record breaker who, after hours of trying to force approximately 801 cigarettes (I believe 800 is the current record) together to be smoked, passed out from a combination of exhaustion and boredom.

But although we cannot legislate for stupidity, we must accept that the ambiguity of the label doesn't help. It doesn't give enough information - or isn't clear enough. If, rather than just having a picture of a lit cigarette and a burning match with the word 'RESISTANT' on the label, it said:

'If you are stupid enough to let a lit match, a burning cigarette, or fire of any kind touch this chair it will burn. Maybe not immediately, but it will burn. And then so will your house, and then you. You have a smoke alarm, yes? What do you mean 'what's a smoke alarm?' '

Then people would be much more careful. Don't you think?

There is a part of my local town centre that used to be a road, but is now pedestrianised, with two "NO ENTRY" signs at either end. In spite of this, every day several motorists merrily ignore those signs and drive through the pedestrianised area. In this instance the sign is clear, but there is no indication of consequence. What should happen is that there should be a message written on the floor that the motorists could read. Something like this:

IF YOU

CAN READ THIS

AND ARE DRIVING

YOU WILL

GET A FINE.

NOW SMILE

FOR THE CAMERA

At the end of the message is a camera that photographs the car registration, and hey presto! A lot more drivers who previously thought that certain road signs didn't apply to them, suddenly would discover they do.

All we need is clearer signs. If a sign says "Danger of Death", change it to "Certainty of Death - YOU WILL DIE"

Just notch the clarity up a bit, and we will all be saved a whole lot of trouble.

Are you still thinking about Elephants?

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