More International Confusion…

The previous post about the AIGA international symbols and their subsequent misinterpretations got me thinking and although I understand that the intent of these symbols is to clearly convey what an elaborate sign with words might convey in a simple and, more importantly, easily understood pictograph, it seems to me that some concepts are just too complex to capture effectively and convey to, let’s just say, an 80+ percentile of international travelers. So I set to work on one that has not yet been accepted into the AIGA symbol library and it has a personal connection to events in my life. Here it is…

Hmmm… not clear? The following explanation should help but I’d like to preface it by somewhat defending (making excuses) a certain series of events that I refuse to refer to as a trend but that nevertheless Mom seems bent on characterizing as an endless, incredible, hard-to-fathom and yet now inevitable kind of clumsy stooge behavior. Readers of this blog for a while are probably aware that one of the things I openly and proudly acknowledge is my cat-like reflexes but in Mom’s defense, I have to relinquish on a couple of incidents just since I’ve been blogging. First and foremost is the ongoing plantar fasciitis problems that cause me endless pain when standing or walking and have been elaborated on more here. And let’s not forget the incident with the coffee table resulting in a lower leg hematoma here. Oh yes, and the bicycle accident that had me out of commission for 3 weeks here. In my defense the combination of aging, declining eyesight and foot pain can be dangerous to one’s health as I hobble around in a blurry world in which I mistake bonsai maple trees for cannibis sitting in its own private pot (no pun intended), I sometimes wonder what else I’m not seeing or how close I may have gotten to narrowly escaping injury without knowing. So on to the story… two post before this, I mentioned the cherry tree being cut down in the back yard and my friend that was coming over to gather up the wood to use in his fireplace. I told him I thought his instructions to cut the trunk of the tree into 18″ sections was fanciful because of the weight of each, to which he replied, well, you’re gonna help me. To which I replied, I’ll supervise. So Tuesday, I came home and he was in the back yard with his trailer parked in the alley, a chain saw, sledge and wedge and a handtruck (dolly) with large inflated tires. I went out to supervise but ended up helping a bit. My idea was to get the sections of the trunk that were round and roll them to the alley and when they were all down there, he could use the dolly and put them on the trailer. This is what happened but at some point he needed to cut an oblong piece in half with the chain saw and I was standing there in the alley with the dolly and the chunks of wood. I was a bit distracted because I was supposed to go and meet a friend of mine but I decided to load a couple chunks on the trailer while he was sawing. I tipped a chunk that was about 200 lbs. (it might have been 190 but seemed more like 200), slid the tongue of the dolly underneath and tipped it back. Facing the trailer with the ramp down, I pictured my friend placing chunk after chunk in rows and that I didn’t recall him turning the dolly around once he was in the trailer. Here’s the strange part to me. I have known not to do this since I was still in high school, yet I put the dolly handle low (about even with my knees) and ran at the ramp from about 8 feet away so as to have enough momentum to make it to the top of the ramp. Of course, and I’m sure you can see what’s coming a mile off (even though I somehow remained oblivious), when the wheels hit the bottom of the ramp… they stopped dead. Of course! The 200 lb. chunk of cherry continued with it’s momentum to slam down the tongue of the dolly onto the surface of the ramp. And obviously, this sent the metal handle of the dolly straight up at great speed and with tremendous force into my chin. It knocked my head back and I felt my teeth jam together and as I lay in the alley holding my mandible, I could feel a strange vibration just below my ears where the ends of said mandible attach to the upper part of my skull. I was lucky on two counts. One, I wasn’t working with my tongue hanging out like many of my fellow Kentuckians because it would have gotten chomped off. Two, the handle came straight up vertically and I think if it had come more from the front of me toward the back it might very well have fractured my jaw. I have a bruise under my chin and the soreness is already almost gone. Of course, this whole thing just confirmed Mom’s characterization of me and she came out while I was lying in the alley because “she thought it was strange that I was taking a break so soon after going out there”. Apparently my neighbors were looking out the window at the same time because later when arriving home again, they were on the porch and as I walked up the sidewalk, one said, “are you ok?”. I thought this was a metaphysical question and answered “no, not at all” but they then elaborated that they had seen me out the window. So back to the symbol. Here’s a sequential look at what happened…

I decided to use the second in the sequence as the final symbol with the infamous red circle and slash because it’s the actual striking of the chin with the dolly that should be prohibited. So there you have it and in case anyone thinks that the symbol is in no way shorthand for something worded, my idea is that showing the symbol would definitely be more clear to a majority of international travelers than expecting them to know what this means…

Can you imagine the injured people writhing around airport floors and hotel lobbies holding their chins if this symbol is not adopted soon? Think about… and make your voice known.

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14 Responses to “More International Confusion…”

  1. Patricia Griffin Says:

    Cracked me up!

  2. Melanie Says:

    now, the important question: did the log make it up onto the trailer??

    just kidding 🙂 hope you are well!

  3. meredith@whynot Says:

    Okay- okay- I have had to pick me off the floor- I rarely laugh until tears roll down my face but this did it for me!
    what does that say about me as I am in hysterics over your misery?
    Why because I too am that person- note: drop a kiln lid on my face- slammed face with a shop-vac…..
    Cut finger with knife getting ice cream out of container.
    They see me coming….
    Hope your dignity is restored soon!

  4. Judy Shreve Says:

    Oh my Jim — what a well-told hysterically funny story. Sorry about your sore chin — and that all the neighbors witnessed your demise — but I do appreciate the ‘laugh-out-loud’ this morning.

  5. Ignatius Says:

    James, You have got to quit thinking that you are 19!!!!

  6. Paul Barchilon Says:

    Well, I can only say that this story reminds me of our friend from Oz, the Tin Woodman, who lost individual limbs each time he went to go harvest some wood. Glad to hear you did not lose your tongue to this misadventure, the bug needs it so you can keep telling her stories ^_~

  7. soubriquet Says:

    I was splitting wood when….. Ohh, suffice to say, broken hand, broken glasses, gashed forehead.
    Or when I was stacking 3’X2’X2″ concrete paving slabs and I just lost my focus for a moment, allowing one to topple edge-on across my foot. Oh goody. Steel toe-caps! oh shit, broken bones.
    We’re a load of klutzes, all of us.
    I stay away from chainsaws. I know they’re really cool, but Finnish television used to show loads of very graphic safety videos. If I had a chainsaw, I’d definitely end up losing vital body parts.

  8. soubriquet Says:

    How did you draw that incredibly neat thingy? I wish I could do stuff like that.

  9. ang Says:

    are you kidding jim?? 2nd life as a kamikaze is not going well….back to the clay for you

  10. ken Says:

    Clearly, you should have consulted your brother on the proper use of a handcart. There are some things better left to professionals.

  11. Ashley Says:

    I subscribe to well over 50 blogs, and when I see a new post from you, I always leave it ’til last as a treat ‘cause I know it’s going to be good/funny.
    I too am very prone to klutziness and I always seem to perform these amazing feats in front of an audience. I think it has to do with the fact that my brain is never focusing on the task at hand, but is off in the clouds thinking of way more important things. I have been known to fall out of chairs while still sitting in them, fall up stairs, fall down stairs etc… Many of these are actually learning experiences for me though. I learned how to repair drywall after I ripped the railing off the wall while falling down the stairs, and I have learned how to stem the flow of blood and do field dressings with toilet paper and scotch tape after having attempted to sever my finger with a retractable exacto blade (I was actually carving a wooden key chain when that one happened – who needs proper carving implements when you have a flimsy and dangerous exacto blade at hand.)

  12. Dolita Says:

    Ok, I was a little ways into reading the blog when it hit me what that symbol meant. As I read further I was expecting the worse, I mean really, you could have been severely injured. After I realized that if you had been injured as badly as my brain was beginning to imagine, you would not be in any shape to write. To be truthful, I was envisioning injuries so severe you were going to need plastic surgery. When the light bulb went on (finally), I began to laugh. I am still laughing and, oh so relieved you are OK.

  13. Eugene Hon Says:

    Oh my GOD ! Holy Toledo, eina eina eina – ouchhhhhh. I love pictograms – the images are so inspiring but yours is inspirational, hilarious and forever memorable. Just as well it is told in this way and not captured in some embarrassing family video for future consumption. Your illustrated experience captures the imagination and takes the event to a new level – marvelously scripted and captured. Genius, genius you are

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