As I pedal through many of Detroit’s neighborhoods, it’s not unusual to come across some pretty quirky signs. Some are hand painted signs I can barely read because of dripping letters; others are signs, with clean letters painted on the sides of buildings full of misspellings. Others are nailed to trees, and some are just sitting in front of homes or businesses advertising some special deal. Some might be a “keep out” warning of some type or advertise a vehicle repair service. Many I see are quite humorous.
On occasion, I’ll be sharing photos of these amusing signs. I think they’ll make you chuckle.
Take a look.
This entry on Amusing Signs in Detroit is part of an ongoing series. To view the others in this series, simply click on the one of the headlines below.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey
An American classic, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was published in 1962 to great acclaim. Set in an Oregon mental hospital, the story is told through the eyes of “Chief” Bromden, an inmate suffering from schizophrenia. Bromden, a long time patient whose job in the asylum is to sweep floors, pretends to be a deaf-mute. This ruse allowed him almost unlimited access to offices, meeting rooms, etc. where he overhears many of the staff’s dirty little secrets on running the hospital, particularly those of head nurse Ratchet. The oppressive Ratchet runs the show by keeping inmates in a “fog” through verbal intimidation, the use of various drugs, and other means, like shock treatment.
Enter Randle McMurphy, a spirited, defiant, small time convict sent to the hospital from a prison work farm where he was serving time for battery. Full of life, he easily gains the inmates’ trust and takes advantage by hustling them for money and cigarettes. After a short period, he realizes that he’s more than a diversion to the inmates and actually gives them life and independence, including the Chief who has now began to speak to him.
McMurphy soon becomes a major thorn in nurse Ratchet’s side. Nothing slows his constant harassment of her, not even the shock therapy sessions she insisted he needed and put him through. One evening McMurphy bribed the night attendant to “look the other way” while he threw a party on the ward. Unfortunately, this party led up to a series of stunning events that included Ratchet being nearly choked to death by McMurphy, his eventual demise and the final gift he received from his friend Chief Bromden.
This is an exceptionally rewarding and beautifully written book that offers keen insight into the inner workings of an asylum, the authorities running it and the means they use to manipulate and control the individuals in their care. I particularly like Kesey’s detailed, brilliant, descriptions of the many mental patients and the afflictions they were dealing with. I found the book inspiring, quite funny at times and yet sad in many ways. It’s also a great study on the pressure society puts on us to conform, rather than expressing our own individuality, and the struggle between the two.
Kesey based this book on what he observed and stories he was told by inmates while working as an orderly at a mental hospital. During that time, he was also in a group of volunteers given LSD by the U.S. Government, through a secret program, to see how the drug could be used to manipulate one’s mental state and alter brain functions. Much like he observed while working in that mental hospital, the LSD gave him a first hand perspective on what it must be like living as those patients were.