Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What if....

I eat lunch with a truly fantastic group of teachers. We are all language arts and social studies teachers, and all fairly young (35 or younger). I have spent more than one lunch literally crying with laughter. This year, when one of us has a bad morning, we will come in to lunch and announce our declaration to give up teaching and work as a Department of Transportation Sign Turner - you know, the people that stand on the side of the road with the "Slow" and "Stop" signs in construction zones.

Today, someone asked what would happen if the same restrictions that apply to teachers were to apply to the sign-turners. Here's a short list of what we decided:
  • Sign-Turners would be paid based on whether or not people ACTUALLY slowed down in construction zones
  • The only measure of whether or not people were actually slowing down would be the number on the speedometer, not whether the number of accidents decreased
  • Sign-Turners will be expected to pay for their own sign. And vest.
  • Sign-Turners will be rewarded if they use aggressive measures to slow people down. Why rely on only the sign? Even an idiot can hold a sign, the truly GOOD sign-turners will fling themselves in front of oncoming traffic in an effort to really make a difference.
  • From time to time, a study would be done that proves that people respond better to round signs rather than triangular signs, as triangular signs are challenging for round-preferential people to read. All signs would then be switched to the round shape for a few years, until another study proved that, in fact, triangular signs were superior because the shape catches people's attention.
  • In an effort to address the needs of all drivers, sign-turners would be required to hold BOTH shapes of signs and only use the shape that a particular driver will respond to - even though it is illegal to ask the drivers what kind of sign they might best respond to.
  • Other studies would prove that turning the sign clockwise instead of counterclockwise increases the likelihood that right-handed drivers will respond appropriately to the sign, whereas left-handed drivers repsond best to a counterclockwise rotation. Again, sign-turners will be expected to turn the sign in the appropriate direction in response to the needs of all drivers, including blind ones.
  • Yet another study would determine that printing "STOP" in all capital letters on a red background creates the impulse to in fact go faster for some people (this is known as "oppositional defiance"), so printing "GO LESS FAST" instead will help defuse these tendencies and encourage them not to give in to their suffering.
  • Telling blind people that they cannot drive is illegal. All people can do everything equally well. Sign-Turners will be expected to modify their sign-turning to compensate for the needs of all drivers.
  • New Sign-Turners will be hired straight out of ivy-league colleges, because only the young can masterfully reach all drivers. Old Sign-Turners refuse to listen to the studies listed above, stating reasons such as "Been There Done That." How can the DOT expect to meet the needs of all drivers if the Sign-Turners are so resistant to change?
  • Sign-Turners will be expected to call the mothers of all bad drivers to let the mothers know that their children broke the rules. How the sign-turner is supposed to figure out the correct phone number is up to the sign-turner, but if they do not contact the mothers, bad drivers will be allowed to continue to drive badly, since no one told them not to.

Sometimes, lunch is the only thing that gets me through the day.


The Reflective Educator said...

Ha - absolutely. Thank god for lunch. And nice comparison. I'd never considered sign turning before ;)

Pseudo said...

You and your teacher friends are hilarious. Well done. I knew exactly what you were making fun of.

Putting you and your fun post under the sunset.

Lisa E said...

This is awesome. I'm stealing this!

Pernicious Panda said...

Awesome post--and very funny! (Would be funnier, of course, if it weren't so true...)

John Deere Mom said...

I just forwarded this to many of my colleagues. Oh-so-true.