The latest of the signs and banners displayed by my neighbor reads, “YOU’VE GOT FRIENDS… SUSAN & LOTS OF THEM.” By way of background, I have never actually met this neighbor but I am friendly with other people who live near his house. Apparently he is a bachelor in his fifties or sixties. His lawn is expertly manicured and his house appears to be in very good repair. The “Susan” referred to on his sign apparently is a woman who lives across the street from him and who happens to be suffering from a health affliction the nature of which I am uncertain about but I suspect it to be along the lines of cancer. The signs this neighbor displays are intended to cheer her up. However, it is my impression that they are somewhat embarrassing and uncomfortable for his surrounding neighbors.
What makes his signs and banners so uncomfortable is that the intention behind them comes from a place of positivity. In other words they are designed to make the world a better place by putting forth a positive message of encouragement for this unfortunate Susan. This makes it uncomfortable because they are in some ways creating the opposite effect than the one intended. Moreover, because the intent behind them is a positive one it is difficult to approach this well meaning bachelor and tell him that his displays make people uncomfortable.
Such is the nature and power that inherently resides within the infinite capacity of a sign or banner. Essentially it is a blank canvass upon which can be displayed an infinite number of messages. Sometimes these messages can have a positive effect upon its intended audience. Sometimes (although a positive effect is intended) they can have a negative effect as appears to be the case between this well meaning bachelor and his unfortunate neighbor named Susan.