Ponderings by Doug

I was sitting in a hearse the other day.

If you have ever been in a funeral procession, you know there is a waiting period before the procession leaves for the cemetery. Have you ever wondered why you wait in your car to leave for the cemetery? I am about to tell you a trade secret. The funeral procession waits a little while to give the “flower van” a chance to get to the cemetery to put the flowers around the grave. I was waiting in the hearse for flower time to be completed. There is not much to do while sitting in the hearse. I have found that the dearly departed is usually not much of a conversationalist. The radio was off, and I have boundary rules related to someone else’s radio. What to do to kill the time? I did some dashboard gazing.

The nice hearse had a message that read, “Trunk opened.”

You have noticed that a hearse has no trunk. I turned around to make sure the lid on something else had not popped open. The back door of the hearse was not opened. So, I was wondering why the hearse was reading “trunk opened.” When the funeral director got in the hearse and we pulled away from the church, the message vanished. I am wondering what “trunk opened” meant. Why would the hearse need to let the driver know that the trunk was opened when the vehicle had no trunk? It seemed a useless warning sign.

The next day I was at the hospital. On the door leading into the Day Surgery area was a sign that read, “No strong perfumes or colognes inside as they might cause problems for our patients with allergies.” I was thinking that the sign on the door was useless. There would be no way for a person to shower before walking through those doors. Most people add their perfume or cologne at home so the warning sign might have better read, “If you smell strong stay out!”

There is another useless sign we have all seen. That sign that warns you that using your cell phone might cause an explosion while you are filling your car with gas. Those warnings were put out when cell phones first became popular. There is no way you and your cell phone will blow up while pumping gas. But once you have a rule or a sign, you can’t seem to get rid of them.

Back in the day there was a protest song with the lyrics, “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

I enjoy reading signs and wondering what happened that someone decided a sign was now necessary.

Jesus did talk about reading the signs of the times. Most of us who read those signs can tell you that sign reading time is running out. I thought you should know that in case you want to make preparation. You might join us in church as we practice our semiotics.