Our columnist confesses all the holes inthe roads are driving him potty.
The Canadian flag has a maple leaf, while New Zealanders are deciding whether or not to have the silver fern on theirs. If my neighbourhood had a flag, itwould have a pothole on it. The pothole is omnipresent and omnipotent – there should be a shrine for it.
But dowe know enough about potholes? Our school textbooks don’t have a chapter on them, maths problems seldom mention their geometric features, chemistry texts lack instructions on caring for them, and history books ignore their origins.
This is a strange lacuna in our educational system. Howdid potholes originate? Here’s one theory: pottery makers in 15th-century England would take advantage of the ruts that wagon wheels gouged into roads. Looking for a cheap source of rawmaterials for making clay pots, the potters would dig into the ruts for the clay deposits underneath. Those driving wagons over such roads referred to them as potholes.
That sounds just credible enough to be false.
Here’s another theory (and I lift it from a dictionary). Originally, a pothole was a geological feature in glaciers and gravel beds, from Middle English pot ‘a deep hole for a mine, or from peat-digging (late 14th century), now generally obsolete, but preserved in Scotland and northern England dialect... Applied to a hole in a road from 1909’.
That sounds just false enough to be true.
Potholes are special. They are masters of disguise. At the hint of an approaching official, they turn invisible. A hard-working official travelled 25km looking for one but no pothole presented itself. One sympathises with the official. It’s like going to a tiger reserve and not spotting a tiger.
Potholes are such an integral part of our lives now that it feels cruel to leave them to fend for themselves. I am planning to start a campaign – adopt a pothole. Citizens should be encouraged to maintain the potholes in their area. In a year’s time, they could be eligible towin the best preserved pothole competition.
Soon we might need to hold an auction so people can buy the potholes they will nurture.
Perhaps, like the craters on the moon, we could name our potholes. Politicians and local authorities could thus be immortalised. After all, a pothole could be a statue in reverse.
I am planning to start a campaign–ADOPT A POT HOLE. Citizens should be encouraged to MAINTAIN the potholes in their area. In a year’ s time, they could win the BEST PRESERVED pot hole competition