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Tired of the Conversation

maybe our pothole ‘problem’ is an opportunity in disguise

Mike Paulus

Sorry, but I love potholes. And I’m so happy to live in a city with so many of them.

As happens every year, all that freezing and thawing over the past few months has really done a number on our concrete motorways. Some roads are worse than others, and some roads in particular really aren’t “roads” anymore. They’re more like a series of piles of shattered cinder blocks, broken up by the occasional mini canyon. Not that I’m complaining. Most roads don’t resemble desolate wastelands at all.

If you don’t like driving around potholes, just do what I do. Pretend you’re Han Flippin’ Solo in Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back, duh) navigating an asteroid field in his Millennium Falcon (his small, green, 4-cylinder Millennium Falcon that says “Honda” on the back). My wife gets to be Princess Leia and my kids get to be the droids, or two Chewbaccas depending on how much sugar they’ve had.

Why not build little jumps in front of the really big chasms so we can go all Dukes of Hazzard on the way to the office? Cue up your favorite music, buckle yourself down, and simply fly over those pesky potholes.

See how awesome that makes driving down our pothole-speckled roads? Before, all you could do is grumble and moan about how horrible life is, but now you get to have big-time fun! Now you get to gracefully swoop around craters in the road and make split-second decisions on which way to swerve as you straddle hole after hole, struggling to save your tires, your suspension, and your sanity – because the Empire’s TIE fighters are chasing you!

Sure, you could just drive slower, but that wouldn’t be big-time fun now, would it?

Now, many of you probably think the city should be doing more to fix up these potholes, as if their very existence stems from the mismanagement of city resources. Well, I agree that the city should be doing something about the potholes. They should be enhancing them.

Why not build little jumps in front of the really big chasms so we can go all Dukes of Hazzard on the way to the office? Cue up your favorite music, buckle yourself down, and simply fly over those pesky holes. I bet you could even get the cops to chase you, just like Rosco P. Coltrane in hot pursuit. What could go wrong? We could all get CB radios to talk to each other and come up with awesome CB radio nicknames.

Sorry dudes, “Bearded Lightning” is taken. By me.

Maybe the city can create an elaborate point system based on navigating the worst stretches of road. You’re awarded points for successfully avoiding holes, and you can score bonus points for successfully navigating a four-way stop, which has nothing to do with potholes, but seems to be a daunting enough task around here to warrant its own reward system.

You can rack up points, and at the end of the year, you can trade them in for a free gas card or use them to pay off your water bill and, like, library fines or something.

How about a pothole festival? The annual “Hole Shebang Festival” could grab many a tourism dollar during a time of year typically devoid of citywide hoopla. We could fill the holes with fun stuff like party hats, free candy, street performers, and fruit punch.

You know, we really don’t have it that bad here in the Chippewa Valley. Elsewhere, sinkholes sometimes appear in the middle of residential streets, and entire SUVs full of families just vanish into a subterranean world of darkness. I know this to be true because I’ve seen pictures of it on several different websites. This has yet to happen (much) around here, so maybe y’all can stop complaining about our lilliputian potholes.

They’re really annoying, I get it. But there are bigger, more important things to spend your time and angst on. Mother Nature made them. The city will fix them. If you feel your tax money isn’t being used wisely, show up to a city meeting once in a while and say so. In the meantime, find something worthwhile to get mad about.