Don’t walk on the sidewalk, and other messages from hell

This sign appeared like a mirage above the sweltering sidewalks of Chicago the other day.

Trudging along South Canal Street, I stopped and pointed the sign out to my son. We both stared.

Were we hallucinating in the urban heat?

Was it a joke?

No, there it was, real as the blistering sun, fastened to a wall, proclaiming its nonsensical message to all willing to stop – feet on the sidewalk – and squint.

It reminded me of an episode of “Rod Serling’s Night Gallery” in which a hippie falls through a chute into hell. Hell, it seems, has a waiting room, and the hippie, played by John Astin of “Addams Family” fame, is confronted by a sign upon entering the room.

No smoking. No standing. No drinking. No talking. No sleeping. No food.

Hell, apparently, is a land of silly rules.

Then again, so is Chicago at times.

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