Jesse Gall

The Signs of Sevierville

In Humor, The South on June 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm

I felt like I was getting a sign when I moved here. A ridiculously dumb sign with either a complete logical hole or one purposeful misspelling. Now, as a writer and literature snob, misspellings irritate me on a daily basis. So you would think the only thing worse than a misspelled word would be a writer doing it on purpose. But no. For some reason I find it hilarious. I never said I made sense.

The first sign that caught my attention had to be the Fireworks signs. If you’re not aware, fireworks are legal to buy in these parts of the country. So naturally, it is the nature of any clever enterprising Tennessean to build two story warehouses in which the little sparklies and blasties can be sold. I’ve never seen so much glitter on the side of a building. But what really fried my pickles was a sign that read:

FIREWORKS DVDS! LIVE!

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the term “live” as it is used in the entertainment world, but generally it is used to categorize a type of production with no editing, no recording, no nothing. Think American Idol. It’s all happening right as you watch it. Live action. Live fireworks. Live. Not recorded, editing, remastered, and digitally written onto a disc sold for $19.99 in your warehouse fireworks superstore. Nope…definitely not.

Similar hilarious signs include single pieces of wood that have been painted white, hung from a crane by the interstate, and emblazoned with a single all-caps word: “GUNS.” Mmmm.

My favorite sign, however, glows only a few blocks away from my home, next to the descriptively named restaurant “Buffet City” (I still don’t know what they serve). There sits a local laundromat with an unassuming name. At first, there is little humor to be found in the simple yellow letters that spell out “The Wash House” above the store. But walk a little closer and you might just glimpse the smallest of “r”s falling in between the “a” and the “s” on the word “wash”…as if the “r” was tardy the day all of letters were supposed to be hung. I’ve never seen a letter look late and rushed…but it does. Trust me.

I don’t know what’s funnier. The fact that someone actually named a store “The Warsh House” or that someone actually thought of the idea. I’ve come up with a scenario I think could explain all of this. The owner must be a staunch man of principle, torn between his need to adhere to his own family-bred southern dialect and his knowledge that a laundromat pridefully declared “THE WARSH HOUSE!” would attract the wrong client base or no client base at all. Ultimately, he decided on the sneaky lower-case “r,” which he knew would make his momma giggle all the while keeping gawkers from mocking his business plan. It’s a good compromise when you think about it.

Kudos hypothetical store owner. Kudos.

Until the end, The Mended Blend.

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