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Men at Work in Argentina

Buenos Aires, X.1993;
pict. T. Vandendriessche
Ushuaia, 24.II.2006
Estonia
Azores
Portugal
 
There is no need to spend (m)any words on these creatures. Therefore let's pay some attention to what's not there.
Did you notice the absence of the heap of sand? This is common in southern America (e.g. Mexico, Peru) and almost nowhere else found. Of all the other countries in the rest of the world only Ireland and Indonesia grow signs without heap, but they use a diamond shape.

If we walk through the collection and count the number of heaps (it's easier than with rocks) then we end with three groups: roadsigns with zero, one or two heaps. I'll call them group H0, H1 and H2. Sounds professional, huh? I've learnt that from the bird-flu people.

H0 signs (like here in Argentina) show the man just after he took the first spadeful from the earth. Heap and hole are still embryonic so to say. Or —I noticed our scientific watchguard taking a deep breath— the man has just finished work. Just drop this last scoop and both heap and hole are gone. And the man shortly after that.

    H1 signs show the man while he is working. When the blade is in the heap, then we know that he is scooping up sand to fill the pit. We cannot be sure what he's doing - digging or filling - when the blade hoovers above the heap.

H2 signs are most disturbing. The reasoning of H1 still holds true but what about the second heap? This man is not digging or filling. He is just moving sand from one heap to another. This doesn't make sense, even as it's sometimes surprisingly close to fact.

H2 signs are widespread in Europe, a region where politicians of all colours are fighting for the microphone to tell us that we must work harder, more hours, more years, for less money (but spend more).
They won't succeed. A common roadsign is killing the message. Work is useless. Work is punishment, Sisyphus can tell. A beaming Monsieur Jean quietly nods. He knew already.

Modern roadsigns are H1 and free of this drawback. I therefore recommend that old fashioned men-at-work signs are called in and replaced by the politically correct version (e.g. the Mediterranean worker). It's the end of roadsign collections but we must save our society.

 
Rio Grande, XII.2006;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
Rio Gallegos, XII.2006;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
El Calafate, XII.2006;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
 
But let's get back to our Argentinian finds.
As with the schoolchildren several forces, some from over the seas, are at work. First we notice the drawing going from bad to worse. Apart from a backbone problem, the poor guy now suffers also from weird arms and a laughable tool. The background colour has turned orange, likewise in the next find. This roadsign is better drawn, but the warning triangle is gone. The New World way of doing gains influence.
    Another make keeps the triangle and the white background, but the man is much better drawn and is wearing a cap. Unlike the previous people he shows a more probing than attacking attitude. He comes from Germany or Luxembourg and he brought his heap with him!
The same man is also found digging in the American diamond with orange canvas.
 
Rio Grande, XII.2006;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
Rio Gallegos, XII.2006;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
P.N. Los Glaciares , XII.2006;
pict. B. Hoeyberghs
 
I understand from these observations that Argentina is moving closer to an American H1 type of men-at-work sign. Though the eventual outcome isn't clear yet. Witness the last sign with a drawing coming from the U.S.A. placed in a rectangle which no spotter has mentioned from there.     Just a last word about the Zanja abierta.
This man is ruining his spine. He should consult Bartolomeo's Best Practices.

People have no need to know precisely what workers are doing in order to drive carefully. The normal trafic sign is already telling us to be careful. This panel is superfluous.


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More road signs from Argentina: Children's crossing - Falling rocks