John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Stay outta Safetyville.
If you want to immediately develop agoraphobia, terrified that dismemberment lurks around every corner, there’s no better place to start than with these brutal PSAs from the L.A. Metro.
Using stick figures, the ads stress the importance of following basic safety rules (don’t try to beat trains at crossings, never run to catch a train) and the consequences of not doing so. Each one starts with a cheerful woman’s voice telling you a huge lie about how “it’s a beautiful day in Safetyville,” then devolves into the public-transit equivalent of Saw.
For instance, in “Dismount or Dismembered?”—they all have names like this, including “Careful or Crushed?” and “Heads-up or Headless?”—Jimmy breaks the rules by riding his skateboard on a Metro platform. That catches a police officer’s attention, and Jimmy flees, only to hit a rock and fly into the path of a speeding train. As Jimmy’s leg and arm are ripped off, the narrator cheerfully intones: “Uh oh—looks like Jimmy won’t be showing off his new 360-kickflip!”
Folks, you can do a lot of things in life, but whatever you do, stay the hell away from Safetyville. Some more tales of woe:
H/t The Source