Since when did it become perfectly OK to marginalize and criticize an entire group of people simply because they…fill their homes with “sign art”?
Is it so awful to encourage living, laughing and loving? Or to celebrate that, at certain times of the day on this big blue marble, it really is “five o’clock somewhere”?
The very phrase “sign art” makes some of y’all wanna barf like nobody’s watching. I saw that eye roll when you spotted the recycled tin plaque reminding us “Today is a good day for a good day.”
While I don’t mind any of those (much), I admit to feeling cringy when I see those manifesto signs in foyers and living rooms proclaiming just what type of fam operation you’re running. It’s the ultimate humble brag…”In this house we say please and thank you, love one another, make good choices, count our blessings, keep our promises, smile always, eat well, enjoy the little things, read good books, make memories, encourage others, conquer our fears, dream big, count the stars…
Oh, no, you freaking don’t count the stars. I mean while I will defend brief, pithy feel-good’s, these “we’re better than y’all” signs just make me want to “Make Pour Decisions!” because, you guessed it, “Everything happens for a Reisling.”
The “our fam is better” is just obnoxious and worthy of as much lampooning as possible. Wouldn’t it be better to install a truthful sign in your home? Hmmmmm? Here. I’ll help you get started…
“In this house, we…exaggerate our charitable contributions at tax time, pee in the shower most mornings, only floss before we go to the dentist, pass off those Costco stuffed peppers as our own, do our kids’ math homework, visibly pout and get a little drunk after getting a “C” on said math homework, blow leaves into the street clogging storm drains because “taxpayer,” feel irrationally happy when best friend visits and has gained at least 15 pounds from the looks of it, don’t change the sheets all that often, think people who count the stars can’t afford cable…” You get the idea.
Some of the “family” themed signs invite amused scrutiny: “Families are like branches on a tree; We grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”
Translation: “Yeah, we’re related but we are NOTHING ALIKE. Also, your branch doesn’t fork nearly as much as it should, just sayin’.”
There is way too much loving someone “to the moon and back” which, as I’ve said before, is a finite number soooooo what are you really saying here?
“I love you exactly 480,000 miles and not one mile more.”
Maybe the best way to appreciate sign art is to use it ironically. “This is My Happy Place” in the laundry room, for example. Or perhaps use sign art to let the boss know how you really feel on the next Zoom call.
“Er, Mike, does that rustic sign in your background say: “PAY ME MORE YOU CHEAP BASTARD”?
Mike: “What? How did that get there? This is my happy place!”
In the interest of full disclosure, I have two of these signs in my own home—only two because, as you might imagine “I Collect Moments Not Things” (kidding; I LOVE “things.”) Truth is, they were both gifts and I love the friends who gave them to me. One playfully defines a true Southerner and the other reminds me “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” This came to me at a time when I needed a daily, no, hourly reminder of that truth and I’m not ashamed to say it helped. If this makes me a “sign art” hypocrite, well, I guess you’ll just have to understand “This is Us.”
Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at email@example.com.