Jesse Gall

It’s A Sign! Or Is It A Suggestion?

In Humor on June 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I never knew that walking my dog could be a challenge of intellect until I took him for a walk down by Little Pigeon River. The Little Pigeon runs straight from the mountains, through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Dollywood (literally), and right up next to my apartment in Sevierville. There is a particularly awesome path running parallel the river and I can get to it from my back yard and judging by the thoughtless and widened grin plastered on my dog’s face, he liked the path too.

When I arrived at the park, where the path begins, I noticed a sign I had never noticed before, saying “Do Not Fish or Swim, as Little Pigeon contains a fair amount of waste.” Dear lord. I was shocked at the blatant accusation of the sign. How it just said the river was dirty, like it was a known fact. I’ve always known people to claim any body of water to be at least “not as dirty as” some other place. No, this sign left no room for interpretation.”This river is filthy. Keep out. For real.”

But then I looked to my left when a flash of a bathing suit caught my eyes. No, it couldn’t be. Not in the properly labeled sewage river! To my horror, three children played in the river next to five or six adults who were fishing. And the only thing I could think was, did they not read the sign? I mean, it’s right there, in the front. Large red thing with a big exclamation mark? No? You didn’t see it?

Impossible, they must have seen it. So why risk their health by fishing for the toxic dumpsites that are the fish of the Little Pigeon. I might be a little hyperbolic right now, but I’m no more dramatic than that sign was so you’ll grant me that. So why then, would these people blatantly ignore the advice so obviously portrayed to them?

Could it be bad advice? That might be true, if the research didn’t show that a sewage dam broke in Gatlinburg a few months ago, killing two people and dumping thousands of gallons of waste into the river. So, advice good. The river is just as chemically as claimed.

Then it came to me. Signs are never anything but mere suggestion in this world. No matter how absolute their terms, no matter how strong their wording, signs are only there to gently remind. This is such an accepted truth, such an ingrained belief, that it goes completely unnoticed. Think of speed limits. Listen to that phrasing and think about the definition of the word “limit.” Then think about how cops only ticket for ten over.

Perhaps it is just in everyone’s nature to live outside the rules, or perhaps were wired to think of only our indestructibility, our thoughtless bravery. We live outside of the signs in a world of individual action, where we decide how fast we go or what river we will fish in. And for that courage I commend the people in the filthy Little Pigeon. I commend their ability to boldly declare their life their own, and proudly swim among the muck and filth of the Gatlinburg sewage system.

It sounds less commendable when I say it like that doesn’t it? Hmm.

Until the end, the Mended Blend

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  1. ewww! What is wrong with people!? Pigeons are the dirtiest birds so I guess the river is living up to it’s name.

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