Potholes are no problem. No problem at all. Except when you hit one.
Of course, you would never hit a pothole if you could see them coming. If you could see them coming, you could steer around them. The only problem with potholes is that you can’t see them coming. You’re driving along at a reasonable speed, going the limit or maybe even less, and all of a sudden — kroik! — you’ve racked your pinion.
For example, there’s one big pothole right now near the intersection of Linebrook Road and — no, wait, I’m not going to warn you about this one. I keep hitting it. Why should I suffer alone?
The speed limits in New England are appropriate if the roads are paved and relatively smooth. The roads in New England are generally paved, certainly, depending on your definition of paved. But they are almost never entirely smooth, because parts of the pavement get, uh, de-paved. These pockmarks in the pavement are commonly jeered at — er, uh, referred to — as potholes. If our speed limits were dialed down to enable us to see every pothole we approached, we would all be creeping along like little old ladies too short to see over the dashboards of their Oldsmobiles. It would turn Ipswich into rush-hour Boston, but without the traffic lights.
There is hope, however. It is possible that we will not have to keep going through life hitting potholes and dislocating our vertebrae and barking expletives-deleted.
My 12-year-old scientist daughter has conceived of a marvelous new device which could transform the entire Ipswich driving experience. Here’s the concept: You know what a fishfinder is? A fishfinder, as I understand it, is a piece of equipment used by fishermen who have plenty of money to spend even after they’ve spent all that money on their boat. A fishfinder is sort of like radar, but under water. It sees where the fish are, and transmits the information to a screen up in the boat. (This gives the fisherman an unfair advantage over the fish, since the fish have not yet figured out how to keep radar detectors suction-cupped onto their foreheads.)
Well, Lydia Charlotte’s hypothesis is, if you use a screwdriver and open up a standard fishfinder, there must be something in there, some chip or switch or thingamajig, that you can take out and turn around — put it back in, but backwards — and suddenly, this fishfinder doesn’t see where the fish are. It sees where the fish aren’t.
Now you stick this converted fishfinder on your dashboard, and you hit the road. A regular fishfinder on your dashboard might see bumps in the road ahead, just like it sees fish in the water ahead of your boat. But this backwards fishfinder doesn’t see the bumps. It sees the holes, in the otherwise smooth surface of the road ahead. And when it sees the hole, it beeps. Or perhaps, if it’s like your GPS unit, it will say, in a sultry woman’s voice, “No fish ahead. Recalculating.”
With such convenient advance notice, you can easily swerve to avoid the pothole. Please take care not to swerve into traffic. The driver of that oncoming Toyota might also have a backwards fishfinder, and might be swerving in your direction. Attention: The makers of Backwards Fishfinder™ cannot take responsibility for traffic accidents caused by users of our product.
I think when this thing makes Amazon, we’re going to be rich. And I believe under Massachusetts law, as the father, I get half.