thras January 1, 2008 12:54 PM

Funny. But I feel that any joke dating back to the 1880s must qualify as a ‘groaner’ on epistemological grounds.

Unix Ronin January 1, 2008 2:02 PM

My sister reported on passed through King’s Cross Station when British Rail was holding a publicity campaign commemorating 100 years of British Rail catering. Posters to this effect were everywhere.

Below one such poster, someone had scrawled, in thick black permanent marker, “And the food tastes even worse now than it did 100 years ago!”

“Ah, yes,” some wag had added below this commentary, “but it was FRESH then.”

Petréa Mitchell January 1, 2008 5:07 PM

In college, I remember seeing the joke taken the opposite way where someone had posted a “Free Mumia” flier.

Adrian January 1, 2008 5:35 PM

A friend I went to school with has the name William (Bill). His graphic arts business produces band posters and advertising and is called “Bill Posters”

Dom De Vitto January 1, 2008 5:36 PM

While we’re on a theme, allegedly a London underground station toilet:

“My mum made me a homosexual.”

and below

“If I supply the wool, could she make me one too?”

The ability to persecute others less fortunate is a trait of all intelligent species, e.g. Humans, Primates and Dolphins. That’s my excuse, anyway.

J.D. Abolins January 2, 2008 9:01 AM

Another common (in the UK) sign that can be read with a different meaning in recent decades is the “Way Out” sign to indicate exits. It can also look like a 1960s exclamation.

Sign Example at

The railways’ “Beware of the Trains” signs could seem like the “Beware of the Dog” signs, as though the trains would lunge at people.

Sign Example:

Then there are some rules signs I’ve seen in shopping malls that can be unintentionally funny. In one mall, the rules included one for “no singing”. What happened there? Duelling choirs? Is humming a tune risking being booted by the guards?

Jos January 2, 2008 9:03 AM

A long time ago a good friend of mine (non-native english) and her best friend (former resident of the UK) were walking in London and she noticed several of those signs.

After a while, she asked her friend, totally innocent: “Who is this Bill Stickers and what did he do?”. It’s still a good laugh, even after all those years.
I’d probably make the same mistake though when I was not aware of this incident.

Snarkilicious January 2, 2008 9:10 AM

In one mall, the rules included one for “no singing”. What happened there? Duelling choirs? Is humming a tune risking being booted by the guards?

It’s an instruction to the guards:

“You, stay ‘ere, and make sure ‘e doesn’t leave. And NO SINGING!”

goob January 2, 2008 10:04 AM

My favourite from 20 years ago:

“Jesus Saves”

followed by

“But Gretzky scores on the rebound”

Christopher Davis January 2, 2008 1:07 PM

Terry Pratchett’s book Johnny and the Dead (very funny, and completely lacking in Jerry Garcia-related content) has a great deal about William Stickers.

His gravestone says “WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNIT” (“It should have been unite,” said Granddad. “They ran out of money before they did the ‘E’.”)

Anonymous January 3, 2008 11:02 PM

My favourite is the fire exit door with the warning label “These doors are alarmed”. Someone had added “there, there doors, everything will be ok!”

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