This just in: Sludge on the bridge

Opinion

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Chris Stach

This is Chris Stach, reporting to you live, from the west side approach to the pedestrian bridge over Salt Creek, in Brookfield. With me here today is Professor Jonathan B. Sludge, noted expert on bridges. Professor, thank you for agreeing to lend me your expertise, today, to ...

"My what?"

Your expertise.

"I assure you, sir, I am most certainly, not an 'expert tease.' Why, I hardly teased my sisters at all, when I was younger!"

No, no, Professor. By expertise, I mean your expert knowledge.

"Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? I'm not an English professor, I'm a bridge professor. Me, Jonathan B. Sludge. And the B stands for Bridges."

Oh, anyway, Professor, are you ready to thoroughly examine the pedestrian bridge and give us your expert opinion on its condition?

"Precisely! I will use my, uh, 'expert tease' to do so."

What kind of equipment will you be using, Professor?

"Primarily, my eyes, ears and feet, in that order."

How do you mean?

"Come along with me, and I'll explain. Look out for the tall grasses and weeds. Follow me down the slope here and under the bridge. Yes, here we can actually touch it."

Professor, what is your first impression of the bridge's condition?

"It's rusty. I can see that, using my eyes. Remember? I said that I'd be using ..."

I remember, Professor. What's that you're taking out of the pocket of your overalls?

"It's a stethoscope. I use it to scope out stethos. Hush now, while I place the metal cap on the bridge at various points. Uh, hum. Uh, huh. Well, well. Oh, oh."

Professor, what is it?

"Just a moment. Okay, bridge, cough. Oh, oh, oh. This bridge is not sounding too good. You see? Now I am using my ears, remember? I said ..."

Yes, yes, I remember what you said!

"Mr. Stach, we must now ascend the slope so I can make my final diagnosis."

I'm right behind you. And we're back on the western approach to the bridge, facing the large piece of plywood that reads "Closed," that is blocking the entrance. Professor, what are your intentions, now?

"Very simple, sir. I am now going to use my feet. Remember? My fee?"eet. I will then use them to climb this step stool here, straddle the top of the 5-foot-high 'Closed' sign, and drop down behind it. Then I will step out onto the bridge."

Isn't that dangerous? What if the bridge falls down?

"It's OK. I have a jet pack. I designed and built it myself, using things anyone can find around the house."

What is your propellant? Some sort of rocket fuel?

"Baking soda and vinegar. It mixes and the stuff shoots out of those nozzles and up I go. It should work perfectly!"

I don't know about that. Won't it all be awfully messy?

"Sure, but I'll be up in the air, and the foamy stuff will all be on the ground. Or in this case, on the bridge."

Won't it affect the bridge?

"The bridge is already falling apart. What more harm can it do?"

Uh, yes. Well, the Professor is now on the stool, and climbing over the sign ... there! He is walking out onto the dead center of the bridge. You OK there, Professor?

"Yes! How do you like this? I'm standing on the bridge and it hasn't collapsed yet. It does seem to sway a tiny bit. Time for one more test. The Foot Test."

The Professor is now ... jumping up and down in the center of the bridge! The bridge is creaking and groaning. So would I, though, if the Professor jumped on me. Wait, he's coming back here, now. Professor, what is your opinion on the state of this Salt Creek Bridge?

"Salt Creek Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down ..."

How long do you think it will it stay up before it falls?

"Oh, maybe two or three years more. But I wouldn't go jumping on it or anything. Help me back over this plywood sign, will you? Pass me the step stool."

Professor, the step stool?"it just broke apart in my hands!

"Dear me, dear me. That's what I get for not buying it in Brookfield!"

Don't worry, Professor, I'll call up Public Works, and ...

"No, no, no! No need to do that, my dear fellow. Stand back, please."

What are you going to do? No, wait, Professor! Don't!

"Up, up, and awayyyyyy!"

Ladies and gentlemen, Professor Jonathan B. Sludge has left the bridge by way of his baking soda and vinegar jet pack. This is Chris Stach reporting, live, from the Salt Creek pedestrian bridge. Back to you, Joanne, live at the Chew Chew Cafe.

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