Citing the Fourteenth Amendment and the growing consensus among legal scholars and Supreme Court Justices that its penumbras include the right to be comfortable at all times, Fourteenth Circuit Judge Jessica Wadbody ruled that the signage found on most of the highways within her district is unconstitutional.
In a three-and-a-half hour presentation, complete with slides provided by the local chapter of SHUCKS (Scientists Hoping U.S. Can Keep Smiling), Judge Wadbody explained to a packed courtroom that the wrong way signs, while a traditional part of American highway scenery, caused deep-seated insecurities in many populations commonly found on the road.
“When you put people in a car, and make them drive down a narrow asphalt strip at speeds known to be threatening to life and limb—all while telling them to stay within the dotted lines, not run into the guardrail, and keep their hands off their cellphone—it’s understandable that some people would feel traumatized,” said Wadbody, pointing her gavel at a slide showing a blue bar chart with indecipherable labels.
Outside the courthouse, protestors on both sides of issue waved signs, chanted, and tried to draw thumbs-ups from passersby.
“I know it’s silly,” said pro-sign protestor Andy Doodilen. “I mean, we all know one-way signs are good for us. For crying out loud, taking them down would be a safety hazard!”
Protestor Murgatroyd X. (last name withheld) disagreed. “It’s part of the whole system of microagressions that have been foisted on us by the federal trafficking agencies from the institution of the highway system,” he said. “I mean, can’t you hear it? institution? system? The discrimination is right there in the words.”
Asked what groups exactly suffered from these microagressions, Murgatroyd responded: “I dunno. Teenagers. Grandmothers. John Lennon. You name it—it’s everybody! That’s why we’re here, man. I mean, you think about the last time you drove down the road, and saw one of those signs, and you knew you couldn’t go in there. You knew it already, but they had to tell you, shove it in your face.”
“Darn right,” chimed in Pat Sours, a lithesome and perky youth who was helping Murgatroyd hold the protest banner. “And don’t even get me started on the wrong way signs that you can see when you’re going the RIGHT way.”
“Yeah,” laughed Murgatroyd. “And the fact that they’re red?”
“Don’t even get me started,” repeated Sours.
In a private interview, a source close to Judge Wadbody revealed that the decision had been a difficult task.
“I don’t know when I’ve ever had to look deeper into my heart,” Judge Wadbody allegedly said. “I never felt the urge to ignore a one way sign myself. But all those testimonies that SHUCKS brought … they were heart-wrenching, really, deeply, heart-wrenching. People have no idea how much pain seeing the word “wrong” can cause. And I just knew, even if they disbarred me for it, I had to be a part of this movement.”
Judge Wadbody added in her statement to the press that she hoped the government would soon address any confusion by replacing the “wrong way” signs with more affirmative “right way” signs, in some cheery color like pink, preferably lettered in comic sans.
“It would certainly put a more welcoming face on our state,” she explained.
Tesseract Woosh , part of SHUCKS’s legal defense and lobbying team, speculated that lines on roadways would be next.
“At the very least,” she told TGWWS, “you can expect to see a case in the lower courts soon, where one of our clients challenges an officer’s decision to ticket him for going outside the lines. We’d also like to see that police department’s charges of assault, which they brought against our client, dropped. After all, when you’ve been oppressed with directions to ‘stay inside the line’ since kindergarten, it’s understandable that some people would snap.”