Hay’s Daze: The terrible pun sign guy

Where did summer go, and why didn’t it take me with it? Are you, like me, wondering how on earth September came sneaking up so fast and why July and August apparently are made up of about five days each? Well since the old globe seems to be spinning faster these days, I guess it just means another page of the calendar has whipped by and it’s time once again to take our monthly dive into the worldy wisdom of grins, giggles and guffaws. Oh, and, of course, groans.

This time, how about a visit to the famous “Indian Hills Sign Guy”? Indian Hills is a tiny town in Colorado and there’s a very energetic volunteer there by the name of Vince Rozmiarek who, a few years ago built a road sign welcoming travelers. It’s one of those you can slide plastic letters onto so you can change messages, and Vince posts not just any old messages. Vince puts up some of the worst (read: ‘best’) puns you’ll ever groan to.

“I call my horse Mayo and sometimes Mayo Neighs.” “Water is heavier than butane because butane is a lighter fluid.” “Be careful when you eat at Sam & Ella’s Diner.”

Vince calls the sign groaners his “dad jokes” because he was always telling silly jokes to his kids. Then on April Fool’s Day in 2013 he decided to replace the regular community message with one of his terrible puns and the rest is a history of head-shaking smiles, snorts and snickers. “A bike in town keeps running me over. It’s a vicious cycle.” “Fungi puns are my yeast favorite. There’s too mushroom for error.” “What do you call a hippie’s wife? Mississippi.”

And when a friend created a Facebook page featuring the Indian Hills Community Sign jokes a couple of years ago the prolific puns became positively pervasive world-wide. Almost 100,000 people from nearly 60 countries follow Vince’s wonky work online, and many tourists head to Jefferson County, Colorado just to have a photo taken beside the famous pun billboard.

“I never finish anything. I have a black belt in partial arts.” “I pulled a muscle digging for gold. Just a minor injury.” “Ghosts like to ride in elevators. It lifts their spirits.” “The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.”

Vince changes the sign twice each week and says he gets his puns and play on words from a bunch of pun books, and of course, the interweb. And his silly sign story has been told on national TV news and even the Washington Post. “I named my pet newt ‘Tiny’. Why Tiny? Because he’s my newt.” “I heard the word ‘icy’ is east to spell and looking at it now I see why.” “Sweet potatoes sleep in their yammies.”

Are you getting sick of pathetic puns yet? I hope not, because did you know that a new Lego store opened and people were lined up for blocks? Or that when a cosmetology student misses a class they are forced to make up a makeup test. And that if a cow doesn’t produce milk, it’s either a milk dud or an udder failure.

Vince doesn’t like to get political with his posts but he couldn’t resist when Trump somehow became president in 2016: “The problem with political jokes is that they sometimes get elected”. But he was soon back to his regular painful shenanigans: “Our mountains aren’t just funny, they’re hill areas.”

You might be wondering if Vince the 60-year-old Indian Hills Sign Guy has a favorite sign of all those groaners. He does: “Cows have hooves because they lactose.” Groan. It’s enough to make you want to re-sign.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. Reach out to Harley with any thoughts or ideas at harleyhay1@hotmail.com.

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