The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Brother-in-Law Effect

Sign tells drivers there are no painted stripes on the road

When I was in the Navy, there was a commonly held belief that many requirements, especially if they required spending money to replace something with which the only thing wrong was it wasn’t the new thing, were caused by the “Brother-in-Law Effect.” For instance, enlisted uniforms changed several times during my 20-year career.

I don’t remember the exact order, but I do recall having the standard, historical bell bottom and pullover jumper, and a suit and tie outfit, and coveralls replaced dungarees, and the usual thought was that some new person in authority had a brother-in-law in the garment business.
I mention that story to tell this one:

I drove past a newly paved side street this morning. The pavement was so new that crews had not yet painted center lines to separate the northbound traffic from southbound, and remind drivers not to pass on the curvy places. There were no white “fog” lines along the sides of the blacktop to let vehicle operators know how far not to stray from the center.

And there beside that lack of roadway markings — was a sign saying there were no roadway markings.

Clearly, someone in PennDOT has a brother-in-law in the sign-making business.

1 Comment

  1. Never knew the name of it, but yes, we have the brother-in-law effect out here in the Northwest too. Across the river in Washington now, I still remember how abut 40 years ago they dug repeatedly to find the water leak under the center of a newly paved Portland street, every block or two … rather than centering in from either end.

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