The Hysteria of Reading Spectacles


Here’s the story of confusion, signs, extinguishers, and a swivel chair.

You know how they always say that you shouldn’t run when a fire alarm rings out? You should exit the building in an orderly fashion, a gentle walk, following the universal green ‘EXIT’ sign with the little man on it. But what is that little man doing? He is running. That is clearly a running position. So why is he allowed to run but we aren’t? We’re being told to follow this running dude, whilst also being told to walk. It’s ridiculous. That has not been well thought through, I can tell you that much.

I think the fact he’s running suggests urgency. If he was just walking, the people who made that sign must have thought, ‘Well people won’t feel like they need to rush – don’t worry, after a few decades, people won’t notice the fact that he is running’. But, that’s stupid. The building is on fire. If you are not in a state of urgency when there is a massive ball of flames somewhere in the building you are in, then the people who made that exit sign must have a pretty dim view of humanity. And why is it green? Surely, red alerts others to danger. It should be like a neon sign, the type that appears to move. Lit in red, and with a white outline of a door. And appearing to move, a white outline of a man, ‘running’ toward the exit. And he should have, coming from his body, flames lit in a bright orange light. And beneath the sign, it should read, ‘Don’t Be an Idiot’.

Now, if you are in Asia, Australia or America, you won’t know what I’m going on about, because these are the only three countries on Earth that don’t use the green ‘running man’ pictographic exit sign. The problem is that, outside of those three countries, red is only allowed to be used in signs prohibiting things. So, if you tell people not to run and feel the need to show that someone an exit via a running man, then can you imagine how much more confused they’d be if it were red? What kind of world are we living in? But it gets much, much more confusing.

In the UK, we have four types of fire extinguisher. What colour are they? All red. All four of them are red. Seriously. I know they’re different shapes, but they’re all red! How the heck am I supposed to know which one to use? I know it says it on the fire extinguisher, but if you are in the middle of a fire, I’m pretty sure you don’t have the time to read a short essay! And believe me, it is a short essay. On the side of each one. Imagine that. “OH DEAR GOD, I’M BURNING! OH, DEAR GOD, IT HURTS LIKE HELL! SAVE ME, SOMEBODY!” “Yeah, yeah, two ticks, love, I just need to find my reading spectacles.” You’d be better off ringing the fire brigade because they’ll have probably arrived, put out the fire, and put the kettle on before I’ve figured out which bloody extinguisher I need. But it gets much, much more confusing.

THEY’RE RED! Oh yeah, Mr. Lawmaker, red is for things that are prohibited, and whilst extinguishers are not signs, it’s sending mixed messages. Surely it should be green, because if there’s one thing people do in case of an emergency, it’s run like hell. Heck, if it’s good enough for the little running man, it’s good enough for me. Although to be fair to him, we don’t know why he’s running. You never know, he might have started the fire. Oh, dear, God. QUICK! SOMEBODY CATCH HIM! Oh wait, you can’t, because you can’t run due to bloody double standards.

There’s never a sign of any use when you want one. I was walking home once, back in the ancient time known as, erm, 2006. What? I was 16. I’d kill to be sixteen again. I’m quarter of a century old next year, that’s really depressing. I imagine I’m getting no sympathy off my older readers, so I’ll leave this fruitless endeavour here. I’m doing the puppy dog eyes, if that helps. Anywho, I was walking home. Alongside a main road, on a grass verge. It was raining hard; ‘monsoon’ would be an understatement. I wear glasses. I could hardly see a thing. I could’ve seen a bright red warning sign, but there wasn’t one. I was mere inches away from death, that day. Because what did I nearly walk into? A hole, around 10 yards in diameter, six yards deep, festooned with shovels and pipes, not fenced off. WHERE WAS THE WARNING SIGN? That’s what I’d like to know.

You know, they have the time to be hypocritical about exit signs but they don’t think that a blind boy might be mere inches away from a huge hole because nobody had any bleedin’ sense? It lunacy! Pure madness.

I know you were expecting me to fall down the hole to have a bit of a chuckle, and indeed, I thank you for that. I really do. I’ve never actually fallen down a hole. Pretty sure I’m tempting fate in saying that. I’ve worried myself here into an ardent fervour of worry. Oh yes, indeed.

The exit signs and fire extinguishers of this world have left me a tad frazzled this week. I mean, really, what use are four red extinguishers apart from the obvious. You know, sports hall, swivel chair, you fire it, you speed off down the hall, a mighty “WEEEEEEEEEEEE!” can be heard, followed by another equally as mighty crashing noise. Not that I’ve ever done that, nor should you kids. The more you know, etcetera. Unless nobody is looking.

I have a warning sign. It’s a No Smoking sign from an abandoned office that I acquired perfectly legally off a friend who didn’t at all break into said office. Which you really shouldn’t do, kids, and I mean that. If you want to get into a massive abandoned office building, you must remember breaking and entering is wrong and illegal. Just get an older sibling to sleep with the security guard and steal his or her keys when he or she is asleep. See? Who said I wasn’t a responsible adult? Pah. What’da they know?

Actually, several people have owned that No Smoking sign before I ended up with it. But it’s a reminder to me, every day. To use common sense. To notice the world around you. And that actually, crime doesn’t pay.

I mean, I got it for free…

Scottish author and dramatist, creator of Peter Pan, Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937), once said: “Life is a long lesson in humility.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here To Read the Latest Post

Hark Around The Words
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here To Read the Latest Post


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