The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Forgive Us Our Trespasses After Sunset

January 22, 2009 | 11 Comments

There, the title is my excuse for posting this picture that I took in a railroad parking lot tonight:


From some quick Googling, it looks like I’m just the second person who thought the sign was funny enough to post.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly where the joke lies. At first I assumed that the temporal restriction on committing the crime (“after sunset”) was the key. Even funnier would be “No Shoplifting After Sunset.” But then I thought that “No Loitering Afer Sunset” almost makes sense, and certainly “No Parking After Sunset” does.

So is it the “No?” After all, a “No Murdering” sign would be hilarious, sunset or not. There’s something comical about being reminded not to do what you so obviously shouldn’t, at least by a sign. (Being reminded by a stone tablet, or a statute, is a different story). But if that’s the case, why isn’t “No Trespassing” funny all by itself? Trespassing is definitionally a crime, so prefacing it with “No” should make it as funny as murder. But it just doesn’t, any more than “No Jaywalking.”

That leaves only the “Trespassing.” And indeed, a “Trespassing” sign (or “Trespassing Allowed” sign) would be laughable. Crime may not pay, but sometimes it’s pretty amusing.


11 Responses to “Forgive Us Our Trespasses After Sunset”

  1. quantum_flux
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 1:41 am

    The Raving Theist Huh? You seem to be tresspassing on Mojoey’s blogroll….so let me guess, you believe that the Earth is 6000 years old and that people who don’t believe in Jesus deserve to burn in eternal torment for all eternity (despite the fact that you still have no such proof). You poor, delerious, confused mind. You must be surrounded by ignoramuses in order to swallow the beliefs that you subscribe to. :(

  2. Beelzebub
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 4:38 am

    Let me try to relieve your quandary. “No trespassing” signs have their origin in posted property restrictions and probably have in mind the definition of trespass meaning “to enter without permission.” So they are saying: Don’t enter here without permission. From there you can get to No trespassing after sunset without cognitive dissonance.

    But I’ll agree that phrasings like that are humorous. My gym has a sign saying “Resistant Machines.” I have no doubt it could be less amusingly worded “Resistance Machines” since the previous gives me the impression that the machines are going to take some offence at being used.

    “(Being reminded by a stone tablet, or a statute, is a different story)”

    How so? “Thou shalt not kill” is positively Pythonishly hilarious.

  3. Beelzebub
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 4:39 am

    “(Being reminded by a stone tablet, or a statute, is a different story)”

    Reflecting on that a bit more: Do — I — detect… a little sarcasm there????

  4. Doogie
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 8:18 am

    This reminds me of a sign on a fence surrounding a public swimming pool in Winnipeg: “DANGER: WATER IN POOL”

  5. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 10:56 am
  6. Strange Doctrines
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 11:18 am

    A more general “No Illegal Activity Allowed” might be preferable.

  7. Melissa
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    Nice one RT. I always get a good laugh over funny little signs like that. I think my Mom took a picture of one outside a store that sold Yankee candles that said something to the effect of “we have Yankees” or something. She took that one back home to South Carolina so her in-laws (that always call her a Yankee) could see it. LOL I’ll have to ask her if she still has that picture.

  8. Jahrta
    January 22nd, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    Melissa – why do I get the impression you have an inbox full of forwards from religious family members, festooned with images of kittens? :S

  9. Melissa
    January 23rd, 2009 @ 12:11 am

    LOL What?? I’m not sure what you’re insinuating.

    Like everyone else can probably testify to, I get plenty of forwards from a variety of different people and the subject of those forwards vary greatly. I won’t deny that I have received forwards of cute smiling kittens (or puppies, etc.) at one time or another. I hear Jane even likes cute little kittens. ;)

  10. JC
    January 23rd, 2009 @ 12:33 am

    Having been pulled over by some country cops recently for merely turning around in the parking lot of a business after hours, I can understand “no tresspassing after sunset” rules, in the sense of “we can prevent crime by arresting anyone who’s here at dark, regardless of whether they have criminal intentions.”

    But, as funny signs go, a favorite college prank of my wife and her conservative Catholic friends was to take pictures of themselves doing exactly what a sign said not to do. Like standing on the grass behind the sign taht said “Keep off the grass,” or sitting with beer bottles undre a “no drinking” sign. APparently, for people with senses of humor, that’s considered funny.

  11. Louise
    January 27th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    Melissa – why do I get the impression you have an inbox full of forwards from religious family members, festooned with images of kittens? :S

    Jahrta, why do I get the impression that so many Atheists are just plain horrible?

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