The Little Sign That Wouldn’t Give Up

Batman’s dad: And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

Once upon a time in a land far far away there lived a lonely road planner called Geppettski. Despite being unable to have children of his own, his biggest dream remained to have a son and to bring him up to respect the laws of the road in a land that was, sadly, mostly lawless.

“My son shall be a shining example to all road users!” he would tell anyone who was interested, before going back to his drawings.

One day, Geppettski was bent over his desk struggling with a new junction that had appeared after the construction of a large and magnificent bridge in the North near Winterfell. Two roads met where a giant Makro had been built many years ago. Kolumbijska had been running past Makro for a while but Zgrupowania AK “Kampinos” had been extended to meet up with Farysa and now created a T junction between Makro and the tram lines. It wasn’t an important T junction as the traffic was light here but Geppettski wanted it to be perfect, as he always did. He was worried that the few residents of Strangely Park that might use this road, to head for example to the metro station, would be met with traffic coming in the other direction that was not exactly sure if this was a one or two lane road and therefore might not be quite far enough over to avoid a collision.

The confusion about whether this was a one or two carriageway road was only partly Geppettski’s fault. The construction fairies had, we have to assume, built what the design fairies had drawn when designing the magnificent bridge and for reasons known only to them (and of course to the Great Designer in the Sky) they had made this particular stretch of road about 87% as wide as a two lane road should be. There was enough space for two vehicles to pass but it did feel a little “tight” at times. Geppettski’s job was to work out how to plan road signs, markings, hedgehog crossings and so forth and Geppettski was, as everyone knew all too well, a stickler for the rules.

“If, gentlemen, I may remind you of rule 18c section 1.03; it is essential to make sure that drivers know which side of the road they should be using. I appreciate that we have a few white lines but in my professional opinion, given the shortness of width, these are not enough!” he said. “We need a sign and this is my last word on the matter!”. No amount of helpful advice would persuade him otherwise, even though most impartial observers knew the sign was only going to make matters worse.

Of course, none of his doubters knew that Geppettski had been visited a few weeks earlier by Senility, the baby fairy, nor that his stubborn refusal to design dotted lines was actually driven by his lifelong desire to have a son. “Geppettski!”, Senility had said, “Geppettski!”, “Your time is close, Geppettski. To you a son will be born, designed by your own hand at a difficult T junction.”. With that she was gone but it was enough, Geppettski knew what he had to do.

Geppettski set to work designing the most beautiful sign he could, for he had a feeling this was what Senility had been talking about. The sign was small but stout, with a strong legs of tubular steel that carried on up to form the backbone and support a large blue face with happy arrow like features. With the addition of a bright yellow onesie the design was finished and Geppettski sent it off to the contractor.

His co-workers would later say at the inquest that in that period of waiting for his new sign to be installed, Geppettski was as happy and excited as they had ever seen him. In fact, they went as far as to suggest that it was this very excitement that had distracted him sufficiently enough that he forgot to do his usual double-check that nobody was driving through the red lights on that fateful day, which led to his tragic and untimely demise under the wheels of Skoda Superb.

Ironically, it was on the day of Geppettski’s funeral that the little sign was installed. Unaware that he was already an orphan he stood proudly, brand new and shining, waiting for his father to come along. But nobody came and then only two days later he was flattened by a Makro delivery truck taking a short-cut. Ripped from his socket he lay on the ground, face and legs bent, his onesie the worse for wear but he got back up. Every time he was flattened, he got back up like a fighter who doesn’t know when he’s beat. He knew he was special, despite being very badly positioned, despite being a stupid idea in the first place. Somehow, he knew his father had put him here for a reason and he knew that reason was to be a shining example to all road users, even Makro delivery truck drivers!

He’s been down about ten times already and, as you can see, he’s down again but he’ll be back!

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