Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog - I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Tag: wasting taxes humor

Tax Dollars Blues

Recently I wrote about four city employees standing right under the stop signs at a 4-way stop, each one holding stop signs. Today I was at the same intersection and the same four city employees were there. The thought crossed my mind: “I wonder how much money we, the taxpayers, are paying these people to be human stop signs when we, the taxpayers, have already paid for the four stop signs they are standing directly under?”

My curiosity led me to pull over to pose the question, “What the heck?” (or WTF for you younger readers). I pulled beside a person in an orange vest who turned out to be a woman. “Why are you guys holding stop signs when there are already stop signs here?” I asked.

“There’s a detour,” she explained, and then went on to tell me the entire detour route. As she was doing this, the man holding the stop sign to the right of us yelled, “CINDY!” I presumed he was her boss and he was alerting her to approaching traffic so she could have her sign at the ready. He must have felt that the few seconds it took me to ask the question and her to start answering was distracting her from her duties, which he apparently felt required her undivided attention.

The first time he yelled, she looked over at him to acknowledge that she’d heard and was heeding his control-freaking. When I didn’t immediately scurry away, he quickly called, “CINDY” again.

“Actually,” I said, “I’m writing a humor blog and thought it was funny to see you guys standing out here under the stop signs. Is this really necessary, even with the detour?”


“We have to keep traffic moving off Multnomah Blvd. as they come around the corner to this part of the detour, and since this is such a short stretch of road right here, it could get backed up.”


We both looked at him. He turned away from us watched as one car approached him. He held his sign with the “Slow” side facing the driver. This meant that Cindy had to keep her “Stop” sign facing her cars. They were stacking up all the way around the corner of Multnomah Blvd., the very thing these four people were trying, at all costs, to avoid.

Cindy and I both watched him waiting for the car, which was approaching slowly and with extreme caution, no doubt confused that his sign said, “Slow” but the sign right over his head said, “Stop.” I knew the feeling. You really don’t know which one to believe. Finally the car got up to him and went through. Meantime about 20 cars had stacked up on Cindy’s side, blocking traffic on Multnomah Blvd.

Finally Mr. “Hey Everybody I’m In Charge Here And Don’t You Forget It!” signaled to Cindy that she could let her cars pass. The existing stop signs could have handled the traffic way more efficiently than what I just witnessed.

You know those signs at highway construction sites that say, “Your tax dollars at work?” I think that my tax dollars hired some folks that aren’t giving me my money’s worth.

Stopping for Signs

Today I was driving to meet my friend so we could walk our dogs and I came up to a 4-way stop. Standing under each of the stop signs was a highway flagger person holding a metal sign with “slow” on one side and “stop” on the other. There was no construction being done as far as the eye could see.

The person facing my side of the traffic had his sign turned to “slow.” The car in front of me pulled forward. When I stopped, as has been my custom for many years in this intersection, he started waving the sign frantically for me to GO SLOW (NOT STOP)!

I don’t know what the guy’s big hurry was. There were no other cars in the entire intersection, and no construction going on, and even his walnut-sized brain could figure out I’d stopped out of habit, so why’d he throw a hissy fit?

I can imagine the skilled training he was required to complete when hired for this position.

“Okay, you’re going to hold this sign here, directly underneath this Stop sign, and when the cars get close, you want to wave it in the air like this to make ‘em stop. Then you make ‘em wait a few minutes while you look back and forth like there’s something important you need to check, and take a puff or two on your cigarette, and then oh so slowly turn the sign around and let ‘em go. You got that?”

“Whoa, that’s a lot to remember. You say I need to take a puff off my cigarette? But I don’t smoke.”

“Holy Jiminy Christmas.. Where do they get you guys? If you don’t smoke, you should. In the meantime, just pick your nose or scratch your ass or whatever you can think of to stall drivers approaching this intersection.”

“Why can’t I just let them go right away?”

“Now what on God’s green earth would be the point of that? You want to make this job fun, don’t you? Well, it ain’t no fun if you just let ‘em go. If you hold them off long enough, they’ll start squirming in their seats a little, and then they’ll start slapping their fists against the steering wheel. I get a real kick out of that. It’s pretty entertaining on a long shift in the rain. Otherwise your days are going to seem like they last 60 hours. Is that what you want?”

“Well, I…”

“And another thing. You start letting people through in a hurry and you’re going to make the rest of us look bad. Then we might lose our jobs, especially on a project like this where we got four flaggers standing under already existing stop signs, and it’s totally unnecessary for any of y’all to be here. We stick together and go by the code, which is: make ’em wait, make ’em wait, make ’em wait. If that’s not something you think you can handle, then you’d better hang up your sign. You got all that?”

“I guess so.”

“You’ve taken me well over five minutes to train you, and now I’m behind for my break. I hope you learn to pay attention out here or else you’ll need to find yourself another line of work.”

“I just…”

“Don’t give me no lip, boy. Now get a holt of that sign and get out there and start slowin’ down some traffic like I told you.”

When I went back home this morning, I took another route. I didn’t have the time to waste watching the State of Oregon spend money on construction crews waving signs to tell me to do the obvious. I’m sure Oregon had good intentions this morning, but you know what they say about good intentions. The road to Hell is paved with them, but the road to the dog park is paved with tax dollars and nincompoops.

Copyright © 2021 by Suzanne Olsen