Originally Published: May 5, 2014 6 a.m.
Have you read any good headlines lately? If you want a good chuckle, just pick up a few newspapers or magazines. "Lingerie Shipment Hijacked - Thief Gives Police the Slip" appeared in a New Jersey paper. "Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped" was the naughty header in a Long Beach magazine. What was the Los Angeles Times thinking when it prints, "Autos Killing Over One Hundred A Day - We Can Do Better!"
Hey, I loved the headline, "Private Water Company Keeps Residents Thirsty for Truth."
"Women's Movement Has Become More Broad-Based" might have been a slip-of-the-tongue. But surely the Italian newspaper that had a headline, "Prostitutes Appeal Strongly to the Pope" was going to have a lot of explaining to do. A financial journal wrote that "Diaper Market Has Bottomed-Out" and a medical journal's header was, "Gunshot Victim at Death's Door, But Surgeons Pull Him Through." Gee, sounds sort of creepy. And a Phoenix paper wrote, "Thieves Are Still Wanted." Who wants a thief?
I also love road signs and bumper stickers. It makes driving more entertaining. I waved at the woman who had a bumper sticker saying, "CAUTION, Driver Legally Blond." A man sitting in traffic on I-17 had "Boldly Going Nowhere" on the back of his truck. A lady in a black Mercedes talking on her cell phone seemed happy tooling around Prescott with a bumper sticker that said, "Don't interrupt my phone call with your honking, turning, stopping or going. I need to concentrate!"
If you drive around our rural communities, all kinds of interesting road signs appear. You could find out about Yoga, welding, tax preparation, childcare, weed removal, excavation, hay, tutoring, saddle repair, doggy daycare, dieting and trim carpenters. These are all handmade signs! I especially like the one that reads, "Mule 4 Sale (not too smart but sturdy). "Moving Sale" signs are becoming more creative. I passed one in Prescott Valley that read, "Wife is Selling All Man Tools & Other Guy Stuff - Divorce Sale." Hmm... now that's marketing.
Road signs that must have been installed by the state or county are also pretty funny. I love the one at a steep drop-off on a road in Skull Valley that screams, "Walk Your Horses." Would anyone but a suicidal maniac ride down that hill? How about those creepy, "Watch for Falling Rock" signs posted on mountainous roads, and are nothing more than anxiety-producing reminders of lurking danger. Is this supposed to somehow make us more cautious? Yikes, are we to take our eyes off the road and start looking up at rocks?
When residents don't think the county officials get it right, they make up their own signs. "Slow Down You Idiot" is a handmade gem in a Prescott Valley community. "Not A Through Street" signs are posted up in front of cul-de-sacs. "Keep Out" and "No Public Access" signs are numerous all over the place. I loved the big painted sign suspended on ranch gates in front of a home in Kirkland that used to read, "Now That You Are Here - Go Away." It was taken down when the couple moved away, replaced by a simple "Welcome." Perhaps one of my favorite handmade signs is on a ranch in Skull Valley. It reads, "If you think you can run across this pasture in 10 seconds - don't. My bull can do it nine." This rancher has few problems with trespassers.
I have a particular problem with the signs that read, "Slide Area" that can be seen standing like menacing reminders of impending doom on the edge of winding roads. Does this mean that the huge boulders the size of cannon balls that are perched on the sides of mountains are about to slide? Or will the road become slick and maybe fall off into the valley below? I have an idea for a new sign that I have submitted to ADOT. It says, "Driving is dangerous so stay home." I guess they didn't like my suggestion because I have not heard back from them.
At the end of one of the roads north of Prescott that stops at the National Forest, there is a county sign that reads, "Dead End." Someone scrawled in black paint underneath, "But Full of Life." A Zen message may occur in the least expected places! So, until next week, this is Judy Bluhm - signing off.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in Skull Valley. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.