What’s Your Sign?

“Welcome to America. Now speak English.”

It may have been the largest billboard I’d ever seen. And it couldn’t have been more clearly stated.

Uncle Sam’s iconic, and perhaps slightly animated, image was off to the left of this expansive billboard. It must have been about 40‘x60’, sitting happily atop of an Army Navy surplus store along highway 5, south of Seattle. It was May of 2005, and someone in America had a beef with immigrants – legal or otherwise.

At least they were still welcome…so said the sign.

The message is somewhat irrelevant. Perhaps far from benign, but certainly not worthy of a photograph although a recent, morbidly curious google search revealed it is available as a bumper sticker for about USD$5.00 – if you’d like to have the “large” one.

This alarms me on so many levels. Not that it costs $5, but the whole context of it.

At least the spelling was correct and it was written in the Queen’s English. No irony there.

“I love animals. Their delicious.”

Really? What about their delicious. Assuming we can all agree that “delicious” cannot be used as a noun, let’s move on to my next query. Their delicious what? Could you clarify for me? I really need this to be an adjective, please…for the future of humanity.

That one was on the back of a pick up truck in Kelowna, BC. The fact that is was misspelled only served to reinforce a very unkind, but delightfully heartwarming stereotype. (I’m a vegetarian, so this made me even more delighted with the stereotype.)

I also liked the fact that the truck was pulled to the side of the road as a police car sat behind it, presumably about the write the driver a ticket. Had it been me in the ‘Mountie uniform, I’d have written him up for poor grammar, too.

And should you be so inclined, as you or I might be in the event of a train wreck (you know, you can’t stop staring), there’s a Facebook page dedicated to “I love animals. Their delicious.” (grammatical error intact) with more that 230 friends/fans. Not that it needs to be promoted, but morbid curiosity subs as a delightful muse for me from time to time.

Seek it out if you can’t control yourself.

You see, there’s typos, and then there’s stupidity. I’m no stranger to sending a client a commercial campaign script with delightful assortments of typos. It’s become expected that a client will seek them out and point them out. I’m never embarrassed, I get so wrapped up in the moment writing (and deadlines are usually “yesterday”) that I am more focused on the concept and content than I am the spell check feature. Still, I never mistake the use of “they’re, there, or their”. Nor do I tolerate the misuse of “you’re, your, or yore”. Get the last one wrong and I’m really going to loose it.

A week ago I was wandering aimlessly through a crowded convention hall. It was the Kamloops Home & Garden Show. I stopped at the Beachcomber Hot Tub display. Owning one of the same brand, I was curious to see their marketing materials. I love to collect these brochures for client reference. And to my delight, they didn’t disappoint. A “factory supplied sign” as the representative explained. He went on to point out he was an English major in university, and he, too, failed to notice the error in the sign.

“But it’s the first word”, I said with a smile.

Am I? I had no idea that I am.


Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. From time to time, he shares the stories that make his company, GreatCreative.Com successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.