Friday, February 4, 2011


I was driving west on I-80 this week, trying to make it to a K-State game.  My wife had asked me to drive (my least favorite thing ever.)  The sun was looming at the perfect angle to scald my retinas slowly over the hour stretch before I turned south in Lincoln.  The visor doesn't stay put and the plastic mirror cover on that side has snapped off so that it is actually more distractinghaving it down than glaring into the yellow dwarf star in front of me.

I found myself stuck in the speed lane behind a semitruck hauling a flatbed.  The flatbed held two steel girders that extended over the back end.  The girder on the bottom was larger than the one that sat on top of it. 

I thought about how my eyes burned.  I wondered where old people got those sunglasses that covered their entire faces.  I wondered if I would need a pair soon and if Obamacare covered enormous visorshades.  Then another thought popped into my head.

What on God's green Earth does anyone need with two steel girders of varying size?  Maybe a large L shape... for Lincoln!  Who orders only two?  Really?  What warrants such a steel girder emergency that allows this moron drive in the speed lane going 60 miles per hour? 

I wondered if maybe a building in Lincoln was in disrepair and needed renovating.  I imagined the conversation to have gone something like this:

The office of Bob, the City Planning Director.  Stan, his trusty assistant director sits in a chair stage left.  Both have intent looks as they stare at a blueprint of the community building.  It is in disrepair.

Stan:  The roof of the community center is kind of caving in on the East side.
Bob:  Hey, you're right.  We'll need to fix that right away.  Any thoughts?
Stan:  What we need here are some girders.  Long ones, but one should be noticably smaller than the other one.
Bob:  Good call, Stan.  Let me place an order.
(Bob picks up the Red Phone that all city planning offices have.  Dials number firmly.)
Girder Salesman:  Hello
Bob:  Good day.  I need to place an order for some girders.
Girder Salesman:  Go ahead.
Bob:  Very good, sir.  I need two steel girders.
Girder Salesman:  Just two?
Bob:  Yes, and make them different sizes.
Girder Salesman:  Okay.  We'll have those out on Wednesday.  It is kind of an unusual order to only get two so we will have to have our driver use the speed lane and go at least 10mph under the limit right in front of Chris Phillips. 
Bob:  Sounds great.  Thank you. 
Stan:  Now I see why you get to be the director.
(They high five and then talk Husker football.)



  1. Okay, I'm imagining maybe some underground girder fighting competition, except they ordered one girder shorter than the other to fool their competition. They're going to make up the difference in size by putting black platic foam on top of the shorter one. When one opponent makes his move, he'll be mighty surprised when his famous girder swing doesn't harm his foe. Only waps his head with the force of a foam noodle.

  2. Construction conspiracy theories, I love it. I imagine similar things when I'm driving. "We need to fix up Route 41, but we should save it for when Melissa Bradley has her editorial meeting so we can close off all the lanes in one direction and make her take a circuitous, labyrinthian detour."

  3. It's good information to know if I'm ever driving around in Nebraska :

    1) You don't wear sunglasses and drive half blind.

    2) The half blind man allows his ADHD to take his brain completely off the task of driving so he can make up imaginary conversations in his head.

  4. It's all part of the slow down I-80 scheme thought up by angry housewives from Teaneck to San Francisco.

    They are especially concerned with speeding along the interstate. They have banded together to fund a spy satelite that they use to dispatch vehicles to "sew up the passing lane," as they put it. The vehicle you encountered was the infamous Des Moines to Cheyenne girder trailer that drives back and forth along I-80 "sewing".

    But Chris you should really consider yourself lucky. You should see the obstacles the angry housewifes throw in our way along the I-70 corridor between KC and Lawrence when a KU game is pending. They use a trailer loaded with a half-double-wide. It's painted a really ugly shade of purple and it "sews up the passing lane from KC to Lawrence."

  5. Melissa, that is a warning sign to stay away from Lawrence. I actually grew up there and I've never quite understood how a 16,000 capacity stadium over a mile away from any of the I-70 exits can slow traffic that extremely.

  6. All I could think about was Futurama after reading the title lol

  7. I can't stop giggling over girder emergency.

    I enjoyed this anecdote. I need a sun faceplate, too. Tell me if you find any.

  8. Love it! It's amazing the stuff one sees on the highway. I too wonder. Usually it's a normal answer. Conspiracy theories are much more fun!

    Hey, I tried to vote but the computer wouldn't load. Guess lots of others had the same idea. Will return later. Good luck!

  9. Actually, the girder-driver was sent to keep drivers awake by thinking up odd and preposterous ideas about why there were two varied sized girders on the truck.
    I guess it worked.
    Go Huskers!

  10. All I would be able to think about is a potential missle, in the shape of a girder, flying off the back of the trailer and through my windshield. Of course I wouldn't be able to see it because I was half-blind from the sun.