The light is on, but nobody’s home

Published 8:39 am Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beware: there are people in this world who are a few bricks short of a load; their elevator does not rise to the top floor.

Such is the case of a sound bite from a radio call-in show I recently had a chance to hear via the Internet. Fortunately, the female caller did not identify herself by her full name….thus saving her some measure of embarrassment.

Donna made a call to Fargo, N.D., radio station Y94. It seems that Donna, according to her four minute conversation with the radio station’s DJ’s, has experienced a run of bad luck with deer. She claimed to have been involved in three deer-related car accidents, causing her frustration to reach a tipping point.

On face value, it is frustrating as a vehicle owner to have your mode of reliable transportation out of service for repairs. You have to find an alternative source, especially if you live and work in an area where public transportation (bus, taxi, light rail) is unavailable.

After listening to Donna, I honestly think she should perhaps consider turning in her driver’s license and leave the driving chores to a professional.

Her “beef” wasn’t with the deer, but rather the fact that her local officials were placing deer crossing signs in the wrong place.

Now, hopefully, we all should know and totally understand that deer crossing signs are placed in areas where deer have a higher tendency to cross a particular road. In areas where the deer population is extreme, these crossing signs may carry a message that reads: the next 10 (or 20) miles.

Donna, based on her complaint, has a hard time understanding why deer crossing signs are placed in particular areas.

“Shouldn’t we be encouraging deer to cross the road in low-traffic areas, say in a small town or on lesser traveled roads, rather than on busy highways,” Donna asked the radio station staff, who did a great job in controlling their laughter.

“In each of these accidents, they occurred shortly after I saw a deer crossing sign,” Donna explained. “Why are these signs in high-traffic areas? I’ve even seen these signs on the interstate. Why are we encouraging deer to cross the interstate? It’s so irresponsible to make these deer cross in areas where they have more of a chance to be struck by a vehicle. Wouldn’t you agree?”

There was nothing but silence on the other end of the conversation….the DJ’s were dumbstruck.

Donna further made a case for her apparent lack of brain activity by suggesting that deer crossing signs should be placed in areas where school crossing signs currently exist.

“That would be a safer place for the deer to cross,” she said.

Finally, one of the DJ’s informed Donna of what she was missing, saying such signs simply warn motorists they were entering an area where deer are known to cross the road….not that those signs instruct a deer to cross at this certain point.

Donna was having none of that type of talk. She still insisted that the deer would change their habits if local officials would move the signs to an area less-traveled or a school crossing. I truly believe she thinks deer can read a sign.

It’s like I said in this same space a couple of weeks ago (stealing a phrase from comedian Ron White), you can’t fix stupid.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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