You mean deer can’t read?

Some time ago, I came across an amusing audio clip of a woman calling a radio talk show to complain about the fact that she had collided three times with deer within the past year near places where there were deer crossing signs. She said that she couldn’t understand why the state placed those signs in high traffic areas instead of places where there were fewer cars. It began to slowly dawn on the radio hosts that the woman thought that the deer chose their crossing points based on the signs.

You can listen to the exchange here.

I did not blog about it then since I was not sure if it was a hoax by the caller or the radio station but it appears to be genuine.

Then reader Jim sent me a link to an article published last week in a local newspaper in the Cleveland area by Kathleen O’Brien Wilhelm, where she repeats the same idea, suggesting that this bizarre misconception may be more widespread than one would have imagined possible.

Signs that read “Deer Crossing” and the like are going to continue to pop up throughout our country including Avon Lake, but who are these signs for? Deer cannot read, do not obey the law and probably will cross where they wish. Although adorable companions, it is hard to remember the last time that the news reported an animal talking, thinking or providing significant input for the benefit of society. Yet, these signs cost taxpayers like so much of government.

Dogs, cats, whales, seals and deer are animals that might enhance a human’s life, but all cannot read, write or think. They are animals.

Demonstrating the most extraordinary journalistic dexterity, she then pivots from skepticism about the possibility of learned deer to a condemnation of Obamacare, abortion, and animal welfare groups, all in under 300 words. You have to read the full short piece to appreciate her logic. One commenter to her article said it best, “When I’m driving around, the kind of signs I’d like to see are the ones warning me that Kathleen O’Brien Wilhelm is in the area, on the loose.”

You can reconstruct the line of thinking such people have adopted. People are encouraged to cross the street at those places where there are pedestrian crossing signs, so that must be the same reasoning behind posting deer crossing signs.