Punctuation and meaning

It's almost the holidays and I've been too overwhelmed with final grades (and students begging for better grades) to think of something to write. But a few years ago while at a poetry reading that was taking place in an awkward industrial space that forced the reader to stand in a corner lit primarily by the familiar white and red "Fire Escape" sign, I thought of this mini lesson on grammar.

Fire escape-- A noun indicating a preferred method of exit in an emergency.

Fire. Escape. Commands indicating action, as in "You should fire, then you should escape." A potential thriller plot.

Fire: escape. Since colons are a sentence structure that can only be used after a complete sentence when what follows the colon explains what precedes it, this suggests that there is a fire and so there should be an escape.

Fire; escape.  Semicolons join two complete sentences when the two ideas balance each other. Here, the meaning is more like fire AND escape.

Fire, escape. A fragmented list of nouns, as in a fire, an escape, and subsequent dangerous things.

Maybe not really that useful, but I've found it very entertaining, and when confronted with various signs of this or another nature, I find myself slipping punctuation marks between the words, searching for hidden meanings.