Editorial: Using tools...and following rules

Years ago, the La Jolla Town Council received reprint rights from Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel to a 1956 brochure he called “Signs of Civilization.”

In a note on the back, Town Council leaders wrote: “The business people of the La Jolla Town Council believe in advertising. … But at a certain point, good taste comes into the picture. … We are not going to let our town be blighted by the uncontrolled clutter of unsightly signs.”

The brochure points to the then-existing regulations on signs and reminds people to check with city officials on sign permits and rules.

With permission of the Town Council and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, we’re reprinting it as a reminder to La Jollans about the impact advertising has on our visual surroundings.

Signs of Civil-iz-ation!

By Dr. Seuss

La Jolla Town Council Inc.

There once was a guy

And his name was Guss

Who invented a product

Called Guss-ma-Tuss.

(I forget what it did,

But the product was good.)

So he whapped out a sign

As he darn well should.

Then along came a guy, and his name was Zaxx

Who invented a product called Zaxx-ma-Taxx.

And he said:

“I shall show this bush-leaguer Guss

“I can double out-sell his Guss-ma-Tuss!”

And, so, Board Chairman Zaxx of Zaxx-ma-Taxx

Whapped out a much bigger sign with his axe.

That’s how it all started.

THEN good old Guss

Put a bigger pitch in

For Fuss-ma-Tuss!

Of course, you know how Zaxx re-acted.

(Just about like you expacted.)

Ten-ton signs around his door!

THEN Guss …

HE re-reacted more!

And, thus between them, with impunity

They loused up the entire community.

Sign after sign, after sign, until

Their property values slumped to nil.

And even the dinosaurs moved away

From that messed-up spot in the U.S.A.

Copyright 1956-Dr. Seuss

For reprint rights address La Jolla Town Council Inc.