Elliot: The bridge to Wonderland


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You probably, given that you’re an intelligent, highly perceptive person who probably even flosses, have noticed that the Canadian tundra has moved in and plans to stay until May or so. (According to the Urban Dwellers’ Alamanc.)

Kind of like that hippie who moved onto the couch during the George H.W. Bush administration and stayed through the time Karl Rove and Dick Cheney ran the country. (I’m pleading not guilty.)

And you’ve probably noticed that the federal government is running out of money (How can the U.S. government run out of money? you ask. What about all that gold in Fort Knox?) and the Obama administration and Congress will engage in their all-too-familiar tussle about raising the debt limit.

Yes, that again. We can hardly wait. (Wake me up when the tundra returns home.)

Luckily, we have Chris Christie to kick around.

You know, the New Jersey Republican governor whose aides closed some highway lanes to the George Washington Bridge for several days for a “traffic study” and created the biggest traffic jam since Moses, et al., waited for the Red Sea to part. (Maybe it was waiting for the Red Sox to part. History gets confusing.)

I’m no expert in traffic or traffic studies, but I know what happens if you close some lanes on a busy highway, not to mention a busy highway connected to the busiest bridge in the world: You get snarled-up traffic.

Who’d a thunk?

Not to mention snarled-up drivers. And snarled-up passengers. You probably even get snarled-up squirrels in the area, although I suspect no one bothers to poll said squirrels. (Nobody ever polls the squirrels these days. You ever notice? They only outnumber us by 10,000 to 1, or something, according to a demographic nonstudy I conducted. It was a dark energy sort of thing. Don’t try it at home.)

So anyway, Christie fired one of his top aides, his top appointment to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, David Wildstein, resigned, and Christie took the I-know-nothing defense. Kind of like Richard Nixon and the “third-rate burglary” that turned out to be Watergate.

Then, on Jan. 31, Wildstein through his lawyer said Christie knew before he said he knew about the traffic gambit. In true dark-energy fashion, Christie responded by bringing up Wildstein’s high-school days (no, really; those high-school days have to be more than 20 years ago, so, you know, that’s relevant) as proof Wildstein wasn’t trustworthy.

Confused yet?

As Amy Davidson of The New Yorker has pointed out, the governor’s statement contended that the Wildstein’s lawyer’s email, which asserted that the governor knew what was going on in the blocked-off lanes, backed up the governor’s statement that he didn’t know what was going on.

Confused yet?

It’s as if someone is living in a Lewis Carroll universe, but we can’t figure out if it’s us or them. And you thought there were no parallel universes. (Actually, you’re not alone; most experimental physicists are skeptical — to use the polite word — about the existence of parallel universes. Ask one sometime; but be prepared to set aside an hour for the answer.)

So what’s going to happen? you ask. Besides forever winter. Well, Christie has lost something around 20 percentage points in the polls. So much for bringing up high-school days.

But I’m an optimist. I like to think that the icicle is half-full.

By the way, the Urban Dwellers’ Almanac is an urban myth. But then, so much is these days. Take dark energy.


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