The town I live in has a street assessment program, where trained street assessment personnel fan out along the streets and byways, lanes and thoroughfares, avenues and boulevards and — you guessed it — assess them according to their need for repair. They all take the same training, so theoretically they should all come up with identical assessments. Every street in town was rated a few years ago and will be rated again this year.
This is all very interesting (well, not really) and it might lead one to believe that the streets in my town run straight and true like an old Brunswick pool table. In fact, a great many of them are like logging roads — rough and rutted, with patches on top of patches. If I was going to open a wheel alignment service, I would pick this town since Beirut is too far away.
For all I know, our street assessors are doing a bang-up job in noting the cracks, heaves and holes in the fractured web that connects our homes and stores. Like royal commissioners, they see the problem and then leave their findings with Fred. Fred will fix it. That’s his job.
“Yes, I sympathize with your problem,” said Fred on the telephone. “That was a serious pothole that snapped your axle. But right now, I have to prioritize the street repair program and axle-breaking streets aren’t on top of the list. To qualify for the highest priority, a street must have a fissure that leads directly to the bowels of hell. Show us the brimstone and we’ll bring on the asphalt.”
“What if I show you a pothole with four homeless people living in it?”
“Six, and we’ll put it on the list for next year.”
Michael Gillgannon is the former news editor of The Western Producer and managing editor of Western People. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org