Friday, January 9, 2009

Ordures = Garbage

Signs in public places that may have a double meaning have always appealed to me. In a British newspaper the other day there was a picture of a sign near a steep and muddy looking river bank that said : "Beware of Slippery Banks". In these times of financial crisis, it was a wonderful remark.
Years ago while out wandering around in a Paris area cemetery one day, I found a sign that had fallen off a wall which says, loosely translated, "It is forbidden to leave trash anywhere other than in the trashcans placed here for that purpose". The French word for "trash" used was "ordures". But the word "ordures" besides meaning "trash" or "garbage", can also mean a despicable, disreputable, horribly nasty person. Given that the sign was hanging in a cemetery, I found it hilarious that they didn't want any such people deposited in the graveyard outside the rubbish bins placed there to receive them. For some people, a peaceful burial in a grave is indeed too kind a fate, I suppose... I love the rich green color of the sign too...

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