Pothole woes require creativity

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

How many chuckholes would a highway worker chuck with asphalt if a highway worker could chuck chuckholes?

With Groundhog Day bearing down on us we should have known that pothole season would arrive the same week. The adaptation of the old tongue-twister is especially meaningful this week as the snow has finally receded from Portales streets and the enormous chuckholes are revealed.

First and Second Street especially are bad. It’s not so much the water-filled potholes that pose the danger — it’s the huge flocks of ducks that rise from the one in front of city hall that are plugging my radiator with duck down.

The other day I met two hikers coming out of the pothole in front of Calton’s Furniture who were obviously lost and confused. The first one was saying to the second one: “I know we left our car right here on the edge of the Grand Canyon.”

I got to thinking that with all the success that Punxsutawney, Penn., has enjoyed with their famous weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil maybe we should jump on the bandwagon and come up with our own gimmick here in Portales.

According to Wikipedia other communities have adopted names for their own weather forecasters, like Buckeye Chuck, Staten Island Chuck, Wiarton Willie and Jimmy the Groundhog. All we need is a name and a few twists on the Pennsylvania tradition.

First of all I propose that our spokesperson should be the fattest, laziest prairie dog we can find. We’ll call him Goober Groundhog.
Instead of checking for his shadow to predict the arrival of spring, Goober will prognosticate on when the state will get around to fixing U.S. 70 through town.

A local service club can take charge of the event — sell T-shirts, coffee mugs, ball caps, lemonade, hot chocolate, bags of peanuts and maybe even some peanut brittle.

On Feb. 1 each year (we’ll go a day early to steal Phil’s thunder) Goober could be pulled from his den inside a chuckhole near the square with great fanfare. If he’s splashed by a passing car hitting a pothole as he emerges, it will mean six more weeks until the guys with shovels and hot mix arrive.

Seriously, those two streets are hazardous and we all need to use our heads when navigating them. SLOW DOWN YOU MORONS!

If you drive slower you’ll have more reaction time to dodge the potholes. That dodging action, if you’re moving slow enough, will hopefully take your car off the road after it’s struck by the speeding truck behind you.

Hot mix in the chuckholes will apparently have to do for a while, even though city officials are lobbying the state hard to reconstruct the road. According to the city manager, funding for that reconstruction might not come until the year 2011, though.

My first thought is to get lawyers involved and force the state to fix our potholes. After all, we pay the taxes and deserve the chance to protect and defend our automobile suspensions.

On second thought maybe lawyers aren’t a good idea, though.

Everyone knows the difference between a lawyer and a pothole, don’t they?
People will swerve to miss the pothole.