Bywater is a reluctant atheist (I had a fascinating email conversation with him after reading this book), but he absolutely nails some of the problems we are facing. With wit and insight he shows how infantile we have become. Take this paragraph about stupid signs as a perfect example,
It strikes you as out of kilter that there's a notice at London Paddington station which says 'Please be ready to move away with your luggage when you reach the top of the escalator' because it implies that otherwise you wouldn't be ready to move away with your luggage but, instead, would stand there like a moron with other morons piling up against you so that eventually something has to give and you all tumble back down the escalator in a melee of morons and get sucked into the mechanism and ground to hamburger and they'd hose the blood down and scrub the gobbets of stupid flesh out of the machinery and start it up again and the same thing would happen again... or, if not, why the need for the notice?
Now, I almost choke myself laughing every time I read that (“melee of morons” – that is beautiful!), but only because it is so infuriatingly true.
Staying in a hotel recently my eye was caught by the sign in the shower, “Guests are reminded to take care when standing or walking on wet surfaces.” Well, thank you Mr Ramada Hotels! Without your carefully placed sign I would not know that water makes things slippery. In fact, I do not know how I have managed to take a shower in my home all these years without falling over and breaking my neck with the absence of such a sign to daily remind me of my stupidity. Why, oh why, does the Government not do something about this? Surely there should be some suitable EU legislation that insists on the appropriately qualified and High-Viz jacketed official entering every home in the land to ensure that such warning signs are properly affixed to every shower? And while there they could install CCTV to ensure compliance with all Health & Safety instructions. Someone needs to be held to account! The citizens of our land cannot be expected to take responsibility for our own skins in this callous manner. After all, we are but children, not adults. We need a mummy! Gordon Brown, will you not act!
Look about you. Check out the signs. They think you are a baby.
And we have let them.