A trope usually seen in comedy. Occurs where an institution holds a sign outside their facility stating "X days since the last [bad event]", usually a sign like this is used to indicate the building has No OSHA Compliance
, with work-related accidents or outlandish catastrophes being the most frequent bad event. Sometimes being reset by occurrences within the episode. An increasingly common variant is the sign having to be reset as it is being updated.
Very much Truth in Television
(the sign, not the comedy).
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Anime & Manga
- The Trigun manga, in an interesting variation of this trope, showed a sign in one city counting the number of murders and serious injuries that had occurred that day.
- Incredible Hulk has the occasional counter indicating number of days without incident (in this case, "incident" means "Bruce getting pissed off enough to Hulk Out and break lots of things"). The movie The Incredible Hulk did the same thing
- It has been 0 days since DC Comics has done something stupid.
Films — Animation
- Used in Monsters, Inc.. The sign is reset to zero after the first "twenty-three-nineteen" incident.
Films — Live-Action
- Transformers has one of these inside the Hoover Dam.
- During a shooty shootout in a shooter factory in Shoot 'em Up, numbers are predictably shot off the sign until it displays 0. Shoot.
- Done in the movie Speed. In the finale, as the subway train crashes out of control through the construction area, there's such a sign. The subway train crashes through it.
- Played for Drama in Super 8, when an accident counter (at a very high count) at the Lillian steel mill is seen reset to zero before it is revealed that the accident caused the gruesome death of the protagonist's mother.
- In Young Doctors In Love the sign is reset after the assassin smokes next to gas tanks, and explodes.
- In Man of Steel, General Zod hits Superman into one of these signs on a construction site. The impact knocks two digits off the sign, thus accidentally resetting it to "0 days..."
- Played for Drama with the Clock in Pacific Rim, which tracks the time since the last Kaiju attack and/or Jaeger pilot casualties (the two are virtually synonymous). When the portal is eventually destroyed, the order is given to "Stop the Clock."
- One of the Star Wars Expanded Universe stories mentions a sign in the lobby of the New Republic Senate reading "xDays Since The Last Shot Fired in Anger. Remember, Peace is No Accident!" When a new war breaks out, Chief of State Leia Organa Solo notices the sign and angrily orders that it be taken down.
- English Premier League club Everton FC are in the midst of serious financial problems that have left them unable to buy or sign any new players for the team for quite some time. Disgruntled fans had set up a web site called "Everton Time" that tracks how many years, months, and days it's been since the club's most recent player purchases and signings.
- The ride Stitch's Great Escape at Walt Disney World has the Galactic Federation's "Days Since Last Escape" as you exit the ride. The very high number is, of course, resetting since Stitch just escaped.
- Zero Punctuation: Yahtzee doesn't have that kind of restraint; he counts time since his last gay joke in hours instead of days.
- In one of the Acts of Gord stories, he comes up with the idea of having an "X days since I've had to deal with an idiot" sign. The idea being that while dealing with an idiot, he would sigh and flip it back to 0, right in front of them. He hoped they'd be offended enough to leave.
- Reddit's Today I Fucked Up (TIFU) subreddit has an "X Days Since Reddit Shat Itself" counter. It rarely gets above 0.
- From the Not Always Right sister site Not Always Learning we have this story about a chemistry student so accident-prone that the teacher made one of these signs just for them.
- In The Simpsons:
- In the new opening: Lenny & Carl are changing the "days without an accident" one higher, then the quittingtime horn goes off and Homer runs out, knocking them over in the process.
- A prison holds a sign counting the number of days since the last break.
- A trailer park has a sign counting the number of days without a tornado. And it's reset between scenes.
- When Apu takes his citizenship test, the sign outside says something like "130 years without a civil war"
- Then there's the "days since a suicide" sign at a divorcee hotel. As we see it, there's a gunshot and it resets to zero.
- In the computer game Virtual Springfield, there's one of these on the wall in Sector 7G. If you click on one button, Homer presses it, then suddenly Lenny and Carl come running through screaming and on fire, then a countdown begins, stopping when Homer casually presses a button, and says "So that's what that button does!" If you look at the wall again, the counter has reset.
- The sign at the Springfield International Airport says "no crashes since Tuesday", then immediately a plane crashes.
- In a Futurama episode a sign counts the days since Omicron Persei 8 last invaded Earth and in another episode there's one in a working ground for slaves counting the days since the last accident (and Fry accidentally nails his own hand to the sign while changing the number, then reaches for the "1" sign anyway). Also, there's one on the door to the cryogenic tubes Fry got frozen in.
- On an episode of Chilly Beach, one of the townspeople is changing a sign marked "Number of days Since Last Polar Bear Attack" from "0000" to "0001". He gets eaten by a polar bear and the number blows off.
- An episode of Back at the Barnyard has Freddy attempting to change the "Days since last accident" sign. When he does, he falls off the ladder he was using prompting a long and exaggerated cycle of him falling.
- In the King of the Hill episode "The Accidental Terrorist", just after Bobby got a ride on a car lift in a car dealership, the camera zooms towards the background showing the sign "2 days since the last accident."
- From T-Shirt Hell (NSFW): "03687 days since the last time I gave a shit."
- The road running from Fort Irwin (California) to Barstow, the nearest town, has a sign reading: "This road is deceptively dangerous. It has killed __ injured __ this year. Please drive carefully." For symbolic effect, the sign includes a "map" of the road — pictured as a rattlesnake with a lane divider running down its back.
- Several British roads have a similar but rather more understated sign, saying "__ killed, __ injured this year. Drive Carefully."
- Electronic freeway signs in Illinois sometimes display a running count of drunk driving deaths in the state for the current year. The number is updated daily, so commuters can see how many people have died since the day before.
- Similar signs can be seen at low-water crossings (basically concrete bridges on rural roads that are normally above the waterline of a stream or river, until heavy rainfall causes a surge.)
- The members of Twelve-Step programs count the days since they last drank alcohol or otherwise returned to their addiction, and use visible symbols in the form of a poker-chip-like object for each drug-free month.
- This can be seen in a sense with Booth's poker chip on Bones, though it's a single chip, not a growing pile.
- One power plant in Britain raised a flag to commemorate 100 days since the last accident. One day, while an employee was raising the flag, the counter-weight fell and shattered his skull.
- Keith Olbermann usually ended Countdown with "That's all for tonight, the Xth day since President Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq", which drove the point home that we were still in Iraq.
- Conversational Troping at the Discworld Convention 2012, there were "sects" that atendees could join. Every time someone had a line along the lines of "Let's talk about sects" or "Everything you wanted to know about sects" or so on, it would be met with a cry of "Reset the counter!" Although if the counter had actually existed, it would never have reached hours never mind days.