by Chason Gordon
– The Capitol Hill Times –
Voting is a great way to feel engaged with society. Whenever I cast a vote for the NHL All-Star Game, or for a multiplayer map in Halo, I really feel like I’m making a difference. You can’t sit these things out. This November we have all sorts of issues to vote on, like gay people getting married, gay people smoking pot, and gay people rebuilding the seawall (my producer is franticly waving at me, but I don’t know what it’s about). Naturally, I want to talk about the seawall. Perhaps you think that gay marriage and pot legalization are more important, but let me ask you this: how are you going to get married or smoke pot when everything’s under water? Exactly. (I was head of the debate team in prison.)
Before we discuss this further, it’s important to distinguish between a seawall, a seafloor, and a sea-ceiling. A seawall stops water from eroding our land, a seafloor prevents fish from falling into the earth’s core, and a sea-ceiling keeps certain fish from getting the jobs they want (bam!).
The seawall is what we’re voting on, because the other two are Aquaman’s problem. It was originally completed in 1934 (a good year for wine) as part of an effort to expand the city’s waterfront, ease train and automobile traffic (with Alaskan Way), and provide a level surface for unloading cargo. That sounds like important stuff, so the city grabbed some wooden platforms and dirt and shoved it into a hole. “That should do it,” they said, stomping on the pile. “Let’s get lunch.”
For years we lived with this peace of mind. “Sure I can meet you at Ivar’s,” a girl would say to a guy, “it’s not like the seawall is going to collapse.” “Son, I promise your mother and I will never get divorced. Our marriage is as sturdy as that seawall.” “Don’t worry Mr. Thomspon, this pacemaker will last as long as long as the seawall. Mr. Thomspon?” (You get the idea.)
But like the corpse beneath the floorboards in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” guilt was driving us mad (look who’s using his sixth-grade English class!). We soon discovered the seawall was in a state of disrepair, and that much of the supporting timber had deteriorated. The city put forward a $290 million bond measure for the voters to approve. They released a video, a scary video (directed by Roland Emmerich). It suggested that if we don’t repair the seawall, an earthquake could bring the viaduct down, sink the waterfront, and leave Seattle in an apocalyptic nightmare, where flesh was currency and savages wore necklaces of horn-rimmed glasses from the hipsters they killed.
So what happened? The breakdown of the seawall is due to pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure and time. That and some goddamn wood-eating gribbles (I like movie references!).
Now I’ve been talking about gribbles from day one. Day one! I remember watching the construction of the seawall in 1934 (I’m immortal like Ra’s al Ghul), and saying to my friend Pete, “Gribbles will eat through that goddamn wall, right through it. You can be sure of that. One time I seen a single gribble take down an entire forest! Ate my house too. Swear to it. Them little shrimp-like crustaceous bastards loves the wood. They loves it!” Pete and everyone else all called me crazy, but who’s laughing now? No one? Shit.
Apparently, standing on the dock and shooting the gribbles with a shotgun (as I’ve been doing) is too little too late. The seawall must be replaced, mainly because the removal of the viaduct and the reconstruction of Alaskan Way can’t be completed without it. We like to do things backwards in this city. It’s like buying a pair of pants that don’t fit to force yourself to lose weight.
Perhaps you’re reading this article and thinking, “Enough with the jokes Chason, just tell me how to vote. You’re the most trusted person on this issue.” Aww, thanks!
Well, it’s complicated (because I don’t know the difference between a bill, an initiative, and a ballot measure). One on hand, since we’re already going through with the viaduct replacement and a new waterfront, we should probably replace the seawall. On the other hand, I don’t live anywhere near that part of the city, and I rarely travel through there, so if an earthquake struck, would I really care that much? It’s hard to say. I don’t want anyone to die, but, you know, Ivar’s has plenty of locations, and that aquarium, let’s be honest, sucks. What?
Vote Gribbles 2012!
Follow Mr. Gordon on twitter: @chasongordon