At the Times Square subway station, in the tunnel between the A/C/E and the 7, etc. there are words near the ceiling, that say "Overworked" and "So Tired" and so on. Why is that there?
-Jamie, Upper West Side

photo from tellene.orgThe short answer is that it's a bit of art.

According to Only in New York, a compilation of answers to questions sent into the Times' Weekly FYI column, the signs, which, in order, read:

Overworked,
So Tired.
If Late,
Get Fired.
Why Bother?
Why the Pain?
Just Go Home
Do It Again.

are part of something commissioned in the early 1990s by the MTA's Art for Transit program.

The artist, Norman B. Colp, said the work was inspired by the old Burma Shave advertisemenets that were seen along highways from 1927 to 1963. The signs were spaced a few hundred yards apart and were to be read one line after the other as you traveled along. The piece in the walkway combines the Burma Shave model with Mr. Colp's experience as a commuter, one who recalls that he "made it to work barely on time."

For the rest of us, though, the words hit a little too close to home, especially after a tough day at work, so we greet Mr. Colp's homage to old advertizing with a half-hearted "Amen!" as we breeze past on our way to the next train.