Arnold fixes the roads

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 14, 2015

Big John Hudson bounced through the front door of the diner and serpentined his way to the big round table at center court.

“That’s an odd walk — even for you,” Jimmy mumbled. “What’s got you all up and down, and sideways?”

“The roads are a mess and the folks at the State House aren’t smart enough to run an asphalt paver. I have to walk like this so I can stay in practice for when I get done with breakfast.”

“In practice for what?” asked Harry. He really didn’t want to ask, but Harry knew if he didn’t, someone else would.

“So I can drive like this. I have to be able to weave back and forth, trying to miss the potholes. I don’t seem to be able to miss enough of ‘em. Arnold, when you’re president, what are you going to do about the roads?”

Arnold Tobin had been muddling with the idea of running for president. During the last election cycle, he ran a write-in campaign, in the hopes of getting elected to any office that would have him. As it turns out, Arnold’s campaign slogan of, “I Won’t Change a Thing,” was not as stimulating as “I Like Ike.” However, according to Arnold’s research — which consists of watching every cable news channel in the Western Hemisphere — if you have lost an election, then you should run for president. Lots of people are doing it.

“I don’t think the guy in the White House fixes local roads,” smirked Tommy Jones, the octogenarian elder statesman of the Circular Congregation Breakfast Club. “Of course, the folks at the State House can’t get ‘em fixed, either.”

“The best idea they could come up with was to hold a special election and hope we would all think it was a good idea to raise taxes on ourselves,” grumbled Jimmy. “That’s like trying to sell me a machine that will kick me in the butt – and then being surprised when I don’t want to buy it.”

“The stupidest part of the whole thing is that they were so sure it was going to work, they didn’t even bother coming up with a ‘Plan-B’,” scoffed Harry.

“I’ve got a plan,” mused Arnold. “Only, it’s more like a ‘Plan-J’. They should legalize marijuana and tax the stuff like whiskey. But, they have to make sure the tax only goes to fixing the roads. I think it should be called the PFP Act of 2015.”

“The what act of when?” queried Firewalker, completely unsure of anything Arnold had just said.

“The ‘Pot For Potholes Act of 2015. Legalize marijuana’ — just like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and Washington D.C. — then tax the sale of the stuff and make our highways beautiful, again”

“Pot is legal in our nation’s capital?” prattled Tommy. “That explains a helluva lot.”

“Last month, Colorado brought in almost 10 million bucks in taxes and fees on marijuana sales. How many roads could get fixed with that kind of money?”

“If they use pot to fill the potholes, will it be legal to smoke it while driving?” asked Firewalker, thinking Arnold might be on to something.

“If that’s the case, they should have a huge road tax on cell phones,” laughed Harry. “Danged idiots texting while driving are worse than any stoner crawling along at 20 miles an hour under the speed limit.”

“On top of all the tax dollars coming in, add in all the money that wouldn’t be spent on apprehension, prosecution, and incarceration of marijuana recreationists.” Arnold was on a roll and was starting to think his idea just might have some merit — most of his ideas don’t.

“Marijuana who?” blurted out Big John. “Now you’re just making stuff up. What’s a recreationist?”

“Someone who smokes pot for recreation.”

“That’s not recreation,” snorted Jimmy. “Getting high, sitting on the couch in your mom’s basement, while watching TV and eating Cheetos is not recreation. It’s vegetation.”

“Not everyone that smokes marijuana is a stoner, living in their mother’s basement. Just remember, all the kids turning on in the sixties are now in their sixties. They’ve got their own basements with theater rooms with surround sound.”

“All this adds new meaning to the phrase, ‘Pure Michigan’,” thought Firewalker.


Larry Wilson is a mostly lifelong resident of Niles. His optimistic “glass full to overflowing” view of life shapes his writing. His essays stem from experiences, compilations and recollections from friends and family. Wilson touts himself as “a dubiously licensed teller of tall tales, sworn to uphold the precept of ‘It’s my story; that’s the way I’m telling it.’” He can be reached at