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Larry PotholeLarry Jacobson    

The Farlex Free Online Dictionary defines a pothole as ‘a hole formed in pavement, as by excessive use or by extremes of weather.’

It also goes on to define a crater as ‘a shallow, bowl-shaped depression formed by an explosion or by the impact of a body, such as a meteorite.’

I thought about that this morning as I swerved, dodged and swooped around gaping holes in the pavement that would rattle and knock the fenders off any vehicle built before the turn of the century. Now, I know we’ve had a terrible winter and budgets are strapped, but allow me to ask this one simple question: ‘Are you KIDDING me?’

While dining at Cottage Inn on West Michigan Avenue the other day, I watched an older model conversion van heading westbound down the hill from West Avenue. He slowed and swerved, bounced off a snow back and curb and did everything in his power to avoid the massive moon craters spread out like a minefield in front of him, until he hit one straight on. Instantly his tire exploded like a shotgun blast and the rim bent, and the poor soul had to limp his vehicle into a parking lot to ponder his fate.

On Brown Street north of Michigan Avenue it hardly resembles a road anymore, but instead looks like a chunk of black Swiss cheese. A week ago I was carefully following a Prius on this dangerous section of road during a snowstorm, when the car simply disappeared. I tell you, it was there one minute and gone the next, as if swallowed up by the earth itself.

The Department of Transportation has set up a web site and phone line with access to forms for people to complete should their vehicle succumb to these dangerous divots of disaster and suffer irreparable damage. That’s a great idea, I suppose, but like anything involving a government agency it’s doomed to failure. I would rather they pour some of this surplus money the state has allegedly discovered into the problem in the form of patch crews dedicated to the task.

It also occurred to me that I’ve never actually seen a pothole form. I’ve never seen one just bubble up while driving, so truthfully I’m not sure where they even come from. Sort of like crop circles, they just sort of magically appear overnight when no one’s watching.

There are also marriages on the line here.

The other night my wife and I were driving home from dinner when I hit a pothole on McCain Road that I swear must have been a foot deep. Instantly it became an adrenaline filled shouting match spiced with profanity. She accused me of hitting the pothole on purpose and was angry because her head bonked off the side windshield upon impact. I was angry because I was scared – the dang thing came out of nowhere and I swear – I SWEAR! – it slid a few feet to the right to line itself up with my tire.

Ghandi once said ‘there is no road for peace. Peace IS the road.’

Well, our roads are in pieces, Sir – and it’s time something was done about them. Peace is a fine concept, Mr. Ghandi, but our roads are a disaster – let’s tackle those first.

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