No. 777



So long as we have people around like an old farmer I heard about recently, creativity and ingenuity are alive and well in America. It seems that Farmer John lived on a quiet rural highway west of town. When he moved to his place, scarcely anyone lived in the area and he and his wife had few neighbors. But like many areas of the country, urban sprawl began to slowly make its way to his farm and, before long, that quiet rural highway became a busy thoroughfare. Traffic was zooming by his place in a steady stream of cars, trucks and buses.
A real problem developed, because as the traffic built up and became so heavy and so fast, his chickens were being run over at a rate of three to six a day.
So one day Farmer John called the local police station and said, “You’ve got to do something about all of these people driving so fast and killing my chickens.” “What do you want us to do?” asked the policeman. “I don’t care. Just do something about those crazy drivers!” So the next day the policeman had the Main Roads workers go out and erect a sign that said: “SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING.” Three days later Farmer John called the policeman and said, “You’ve got to do something about these drivers. The ‘school crossing’ sign seems to make them go even faster!” So again, the policeman sends out the Main Roads workers and they put up a new sign: “SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY.”
True to form, that really sped them up. So Farmer John called and called and called every day for three weeks. Finally, he asked the policeman, “Your signs are doing no good at all ... can I put up my own sign?” The policeman said, “Sure, go ahead.” He was willing to do anything in order to get him to stop calling to complain.
The policeman got no more calls from Farmer John. Three weeks later, curiosity got the best of the policeman and he decided to give Farmer John a call. “How’s the problem with those drivers. Did you put up your sign?” “Oh, I sure did,” was his response. “And not one chicken has been killed since then. I’ve got to go. I’m busy.”
The policeman was really curious, and he thought to himself, “I had better go out there and take a look at that sign. It might be something we could use to slow down those drivers.” So he drove out to Farmer John’s house, and his jaw dropped the moment he saw the sign. It was spray painted on a full sheet of plywood. It said, “NUDIST COLONY…Go Slow and Watch for Chicks.” If nothing else, Farmer John deserves an honorary degree in psychology.
This story, which is obviously not true, points up the need to understand human nature. The first two signs “SLOW: SCHOOL CROSSING” and “SLOW: CHILDREN AT PLAY” were not effective for a couple of reasons. First, we see those signs so often they just become a part of the landscape, and second, there is just enough of the kid still left in us, even though we are old enough to drive, that when someone tells us not to do something we want to do exactly the opposite, right? Here in our community, the police department has found the solution. We do slow down when we see a police car with a live-in-the-flesh officer sitting there at the crossing. Obviously, the police department couldn’t afford that for Farmer John’s chickens.
When it comes to the NUDIST COLONY sign, in all my years I have never heard of a blind nudist, or a blind driver, have you? There is just an intrinsic or inherent quality in each of us that wants to see things we are not supposed to see, especially if no one else is looking.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)

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