By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Our actions have consequences.
Normally when you do good, something pleasant happens in your life. When you put out negative energy, bad things tend to come your way. Some folks call that karma. Christians like to say you reap what you sow.
Live long enough you realize we are getting blessings out of nowhere. Undeserved rewards seem to fall into our laps. I don’t complain about those at all.
On the other hand there are those moments in life we don’t get a warning about disaster. Our everyday life is rocked and shaken like a sudden earthquake striking. Unlike a hurricane bearing down on a region, we don’t see these disasters coming to blow our lives a part.
Through the good and the bad, life has a way of balancing itself out at the end. For motorists out there, road signs are there to help us navigate these streets, highways and interstates. I see a ‘Dead End’ sign, I know the road ahead has no way out.
Orange means construction is underway and I might want to take a different route. Brown road signs let me know I’m heading toward something fun or historic.
This journey called life is full of attractions and sweet designations. Look up at the blue road signs from time to time for a pitstop. But ignoring those yellow and orange signs will cause delays and inconveniences.
The local news, doctor’s visits and church are just a few sources that try to warn us about dangers in our lives. We have the choice to listen or we can trust faith. This week’s Best Sellers’ List is going to countdown my top 10 warning signs I’ve encountered.
10. Danger High Voltage
Children don’t play any kind of sport near a voltage field or a structure with the “Danger High Voltage” sign. I’ve once hit a baseball into an electrical area causing sparks. And once I had to bid farewell to a football that landed in the area behind a warning sign of being electrocuted.
Don’t play with or around a “Danger High Voltage” sign.
9. Danger No Trespassing
My parents taught me a long time ago to respect this sign. Whether I was walking as a child or running to stay in shape in my 30s, I saw “Danger No Trespassing” signs often in Frayser.
What were people trying to hide? Maybe the secret they wanted to keep is worth hurting you over. This sign has multiple meanings like to warn unauthorized visitors to stay off your personal property, job or construction site. Sometimes it is for your safety restricting access to a hazardous area preventing accidents and injuries. Always giving full respect to this sign, I have no personal experience of injury, accident or death. And I have never been to jail ignoring a “Danger No Trespassing” sign.
8. Beware of Dog
Rarely does this sign alert me and keep me safe. Normally it is the fence I see when I hear the large canine chomping at the bit to tear my flesh off my body. Usually the barking of the beast stops me in my tracks and my senses go on high alert. Then I see the sign (normally posted on the fence in front of the dog or on a tree) warning me to “Beware of the Dog.”
This most unnecessary sign indicates that a dangerous dog is within or on the property. The reason I say it’s unnecessary is because most dogs will bark to let you know to watch your steps. But occasionally there are some canines that love a sneak attack. So any responsible dog owner with a beast in the yard will post a “Beware of the Dog” sign to prevent a future visit to the hospital or courthouse.
7. Caution Slippery Floor
A vast majority of us had to regain our balance after taking a sudden step on a wet floor. Whether tile, laminate, marble or vinyl, moisture on those surfaces can lead to pain, aches or permanent injury.
With the lawsuit craze of the 1990s, slippery floor accidents made some people rich. Now we have cameras all over grocery stores and multiple “Caution Slippery Floor” signs creating an obstacle course for a shopper.
My biggest concern is embarrassment from falling in front of total strangers. And then my next thought would be any kind of pain and suffering that might occur. As long as that sign is in the proper place, I wouldn’t even think about suing. But once that yellow flip signage is in the area, I start to ease my pace and pay attention to the floor before my butt slaps it.
6. Flash Flood Warning
Turn around, don’t drown is a phrase meteorologists love to use when it is pouring down rain outside. In the spring heavy downpours cause sudden water build up or the flash flood. But in the fall, the lack of cleaning up leaves and a couple days of rain will lead to a flash flood too.
A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
Back on May 1, 2010 the city of Millington was struck by a flood from the heavy rains the previous night. Thanks to the leaders out there and Fire Chief Gary Graves, no one died or was injured. But the pools of water damaged property and affected the everyday lives of hundreds of residents.
It is hard to receive a Flash Flood Warning over night. But when the news reports the Flash Flood Watch, just know a warning may be moments away.
5. Blue Screen of Death
Downloading too much or the wrong types of information?
Are you visiting the wrong types of websites?
Time for an update to your software? Or did you upload too many antivirus programs?
Are these the causes of the “Blue Screen of Death?”
Blue screens are generally caused by problems with your computer’s hardware or issues with its hardware driver software. Sometimes, they can be caused by issues with low-level software running in the Windows kernel. Regular apps usually won’t be able to cause blue screens. If an app crashes, it will do so without taking the operating system out with it.
My old laptop flashed a blue screen one day when I tried to start it and it wouldn’t work again until I took it to a service place. Your normal workday, school routine or entertainment comes to a halt. The warning here is limit your downloading, visit safe sites and don’t upload that anti-virus crap that leads to more viruses.
4. Mom Look
It’s a stare that we all know too well. It appears when you’re doing something foolish, ignorant or causing your mother embarrassment. Sometimes you can feel it’s glare on the back of your head before turning around.
Once you lock eyes on your mother’s death stare, you know to quit whatever act that is going to lead to your death when you get home. It is one of the most lethal weapons a mother possesses. Her height can be 4-feet, 11-inches tall, once a mother strikes the stare she is the most intimidating figure in a McDonald’s, grocery store or amusement park.
You can be 3-years-old, 13-year-old, 30-years-old or about to turn 103-year-old, a mother will pop out the “Mom Look” when she is mad.
The power is developed the minute she pushes you out of her. That pain and the combination of her love and protection gives her the ability to stare you into obedience.
3. Check Engine Light
Sometimes life is going good. You’re just cruising along and having no serious thoughts. Then suddenly it pops up causing your life stress… the “Check Engine Light.” This orange outline of an old-school vehicle engine is technologically the malfunction indicator lamp. It is a signal from the car’s engine computer that something is wrong. That something can be a million things. And embark on a painful and costly adventure to cure the “Check Engine Light.”
And we all have that friend who gives you a ride and you look over to see that light on. Then you realize sometimes in life you have to keep moving forward even when a “Check Engine Light” is on.
2. Tornado Warning
Every spring, warm fall day or crazy summer storm, I live in fear of a tornado striking. I’ve seen three in person and survived about a total of seven.
An earthquake is sudden, powerful and devastating. But the rarity of them makes them worldwide news. A hurricane has weeks of preparation and other natural disasters are too infrequent or have longer warning periods.
But a tornado can literally pop up overnight. Take action is all the weatherperson can tell us in the seconds before impact. A Tornado Warning means a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar.
Six signs we can look for to give us a hope of survival are the color of the sky may change to a dark greenish color, a strange quiet occurring within or shortly after a thunderstorm, a loud roar that sounds similar to a freight train, an approaching cloud of debris, especially at ground level and debris falling from the sky.
1. I am Calling Your Dad!
My No. 1 warning during my lifetime is the threat given by my grandmothers, certain teachers, my Aunt V and especially my mom… “Do you want me to call your dad?”
My grandmothers used this phrase to get me to do chores.
If I was misbehaving in class or my grades were slipping, teachers who befriended my mom pulled that wildcard. For 10 school days I was mute in class and my test scores were awesome.
Years later working with my auntie Verner Jones, if I gave her an attitude she would throw out there I’m going to tell your dad.
And of course my mom would use her go-to weapon of calling my dad to get me to stop acting up. But once she made that call, it was total doom for me.
My teacher Mrs. Jones made the call once.
On the other end of the line was a stern voice. “Son you know this is not good. I should be making money right but I am on the phone with you losing out on money to take care of you and the family. I don’t go to work so I can get calls about my son disturbing the class. Right now we’re both not doing our jobs. I’ll see you when we get home. And save those tears for later son.”
My mom made that call on a few occasions and my dad was never pleased. And I felt how much he disapproved of the interruption that night. I learned quickly to keep it to just a warning and never push anyone to call my dad. I still live by that creed today.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.