Signs are Like Mountains

Fu King Chinese RestaurantIf your inbox is anything like mine, one of the mainstays of the humorous picture attachment is the ironic or unfortunately-named store sign. And I’ve seen hundreds of them.

But like a mountain, there’s really no comparison between seeing a little JPG in your email window and encountering its majestic presence first-hand.

I’d seen plenty of images (both still and video) of the Rocky Mountains, but just a few years ago on a vacation to Salt Lake City (yes, people do actually vacation in Utah), I had my first real encounter with those mountains. We were driving up the foothills and I remember thinking, “These aren’t such a big deal — they seem about the same as the Smokies,” and I’d driven up through those to Tennessee many times.

So there I was driving up, up into the mist of what later turned out to be the foothills of the Rockies, when gradually, as if planned by a master showman, the silhouette of something awesome started to take shape in the hazy sky. “What is that?” I thought to myself. Are those con trails from a jet? Weird clouds?

Then, as if in answer to my question, it at once became very clear. That shape towering over me was none other than the Great Rocky Mountains, dwarfing my very concept of what a mountain is.

Huge, dramatic, monolithic, inspiring. All of these words described my feelings as I realized I had just had my first personal encounter with the Rocky Mountains. These are also words that describe my feelings as I drove past a the small Chinese restaurant pictured above.

It was on a trip through Lake City, Florida when, out of the haze of the mid-afternoon heat rising from the pavement, like a mountain I’d only ever seen on a postcard, there it was. Not original or unique because I had never seen the image of such an obviously-misnamed asian eatery before, but because never before had I encountered one so unexpectedly in its natural environment, and in person.

Huge, dramatic, monolithic, inspiring. And amusing. Not just amusing because of the obvious profane pronunciation, but because I can say with some confidence that the proprieter of this fine establishment is all too aware of the English interpretation of his store’s name, and yet has conciously decided to snub his nose at political correctness and maintain plausible deniability based on an implied language barrier. All just because he can, and likely, because it actually helps business.

I didn’t stop for lunch, but I hear you should try the Fu King eggrolls. They have the best Fu King eggrolls in town.

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