Recently, I came across this rather perplexing – and not to say intimidating – sign. Apart from the unexpected use of a comma (but no full stop) and the over-use of capitals, it was the menacing use of the phrase ‘or similar’ that intrigued me. What is similar to skateboarding and rollerblading? Apart from Heelys, I cannot think of any other footwear with wheels or balls that enable perambulation. Wheelbarrowing? No. Skiing? Well, no, for obvious reasons. Maybe it was a cost-saving exercise; instead of a separate sign declaring No Cycling or another instructing No Scooters, the Anti-Fun Police in the civic offices just went for an all out ban on the latest craze in whichever decade it could apply. I assure you that where I saw this sign Rollerblading would not have taken place on a sunny seafront by young people with pepped-up pecs and buttocks hard enough to crack nuts. No. This sign was erected in an area not known for its wealth or health. Clearly an epidemic of skateboarding and rollerblading had occurred at some point in the past serious enough to warrant the cost of designing, creating and putting in place a large DON’T sign. Tax-payers money well-spent I say. But wait! If you dare to contravene this instruction and find yourself whizzing down the road and in to the arms of the, er, Rollerblade Police (or similar) you will be fined! How much, I wonder? And what would the charge be? Contravening byelaw 47 I guess.
“Your Honour, the Defendant has been charged with contravening byelaw 47 by committing the Or similar offence”
“I see. Please elaborate.”
“Well, he was seen skidding along in a pair of pink Heelys borrowed from his sister at a speed of nearly 0.1mph, trying to keep his balance while trying to keep up with his grandmother.”
“I see. to Defendant How do you plead?”
“Guilty as charged. Take him down.”
Another sign that caught my eye recently was this one: I don’t know what it’s referring to
but I do know that you’re not allowed to use it. Ever. Which makes it all the more interesting…