Pennsylvania’s New Welcome

On Tuesday I drove from Columbus to Pittsburgh.  As I crossed the state line between West Virginia and Pennsylvania, I noticed that Pennsylvania had a new sign welcoming motorists.  It had “Pennsylvania” written in a kind of kicky script, with the lowercase slogan:  “pursue your happiness.”

pa-signpng-dbea1948237525b4Pennsylvania used to have a more sober sign saying that Pennsylvania welcomes you and referring to the Keystone State as the “State of Independence.”  Now Pennsylvania has taken a decidedly different approach.  Before, it was content to simply be known as the “State of Independence,” referring to its historical status as home to the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration of Independence  Now Pennsylvania has lifted a line from the Declaration’s reference to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and issued a directive that motorists must “pursue your happiness” there.

With the use of the kicky new script Pennsylvania and slogan, it’s almost as if Pennsylvania is trying to use road signs — road signs, of all things — to project a cooler, more youthful image.  No doubt the new sign was the product of a long, costly, consultant-filled campaign to pick a new look and slogan . . . and this is what they got.

Who knows?  Maybe the signs will work, and every driver crossing into Pennsylvania will resolve to change their ways and relentlessly pursue happiness with every fiber of their being for so long as they are in the state.  The Pennsylvania sign really puts a lot of pressure on the driver, when you think about it.  If a visitor would just like to get to their hotel, get a quick bite, and then crash, which is what I did, they’re not exactly living up to the command on the road sign, are they?

I suppose it’s tough coming up with road signs welcoming drivers to a new state.  We’re long past the straightforward “Welcome to Ohio” days.  Now, everybody’s got to have a slogan.  When I drove back to Columbus last night, I checked out Ohio’s welcome sign at the end of the bridge spanning the Ohio River, and it says “Welcome to Ohio.  So much to discover!”  It’s pretty bland and forgettable, I guess, but at least it’s not instructing me on how to live my life.

 

The Straight Dope From Colorado Road Signs

I’m in Colorado for work, and as I drove my rental car in from the airport I was stopped dead in a massive traffic jam on I-70 heading into Denver.  While I was stopped on the road I saw this sign about driving on I-70 taking up to four hours and saw how that could be true — but the line about “edibles” initially mystified me.  It was only when I noticed the marijuana plant logo at the bottom the sign that I figured out the meaning of the “edibles” and four-hour references.

Still later I saw an “adopt-a-highway” sign indicating that the stretch of road I was on was maintained by “Silver Stem Fine Cannabis.”  I don’t know what was more unnerving — the thought that other drivers in the traffic jam may have mistimed their “edibles” ingestion or the notion of stoned clerks from a marijuana emporium wandering around a highway picking up litter.  It’s nice to know that the Silver Stem proprietors are good corporate citizens, at least.

It’s a brave new world in Colorado!