Yes, it's spring in Indiana. And if Hoosiers aren't complaining about the weather, griping about gas prices or worrying about someone else finding their favorite mushroom spot, they're grousing about chuckholes.
I used to hate potholes, too, especially one dark and stormy night a couple years back when I smacked the side of a crater -- coincidentally enough -- right in front of Bittles and Hurt Funeral Home. The impact demolished the passenger front tire and bent the rim on my little Mitsubishi. Might have been worse but a condo project already under construction in the pothole absorbed much of the blow.
As I recall, that incident set me back about $450. Or in the immortal word of basketball great Charles Barkley: Tur-i-bull.
But the shock and awe of that experience taught me a lesson. Avoid the pothole or embrace the chuckhole. Since there is no getting around them, I have chosen the latter. After all, in Uganda they celebrate National Pothole Day on June 8 (then again, they are the same people who allowed Idi Amin to run their country for eight years).
So maybe we don't want to go as far as National Pothole Day -- unless, of course, it becomes a federal holiday and we can get another day off because of it.
Instead, while avoiding contact with chuckholes at all costs, I have devised a plan to make the most of a bad situation.
Like in driving to work every morning. Attempting to avoid the preponderance of potholes on Hilltop Lane and Edgelea Drive is about as easy as staying dry in a car wash (although to their credit, the county highway crew was out patching holes there Tuesday).
Our particular pothole pattern sets up perfectly for driving on the wrong side of the road. En route to town, I make the most of it, fantasizing I'm tucked behind the wheel of a little sports car in England, Australia or in the left lane somewhere else with an exotic beauty sliding across the seat at every curve. Hey, the bumps don't sting as much that way.
And when I hit an area where it's necessary to dodge left or veer right to avoid the minefield, my mind wanders to grainy black-and-white football footage and suddenly I'm Gale Sayers leaving Green Bay Packers or San Francisco 49er tacklers sprawled in his wake as he cuts left and right toward paydirt. Swerving around potholes in my car, of course, is as close as I'll ever get to toting a pigskin for the Chicago Bears.
Meanwhile, it's no secret the folks at Windy Hill Country Club have been longing for another nine holes for years. Looks like they could have them pretty easily now if they don't mind the back nine being all asphalt (or at least the skeletal remains of it). Just think of the extra roll you could get on your drives. And from the size of the holes I see, Tiger Woods might even turn into a good putter again.
So it appears there is nothing left to do but sell our roads like the state did in peddling the Indiana Toll Road to Spanish and Australian interests. As I recall, we got something like $3.8 billion for 150 miles of crumbling highway. Not a bad deal.
But who would buy a parcel of Putnam potholes?
I'm thinking the Swiss. It's a bit cheesy but they seem to embrace all things holey.