Saturday, December 09, 2006

Commissioner Survives - Portland Freelancer Breathes Huge Sigh of Relief

Did you ever try and make a little joke and have it turn into something potentially very ugly? That's what happened to me with this ridiculous Tram Rescue Drill. I suggested that the City Council demonstrate the backup plan for the tram if it should get stuck high above our city. I felt good when Phil Stanford put it in his column, citing the Portland Freelancer in the process. It's always helpful for a fledgling blog to be mentioned in the media. But that's when things got weird.

The Sam Adams people saw Phil's column and thought the stunt would be an excellent opportunity to highlight their guy. Suddenly a little joke I had made to illustrate how dubious the backup plan is, was turning into reality, and that's when I became concerned. None of this would have happened without Phil's column, of course, and in the interest of full disclosure, I consider him a buddy. But if something had gone terribly, terribly wrong with this, I would be the instigator - a little joke of mine would had gotten someone killed.

Frankly, I felt guilty just thinking about it. My pledge to donate 100 bucks to the Salvation Army should Sam pull it off, was less about altruism and more a plea to the gods. I didn't want to go through life knowing I had put this disaster in motion and I was trying to game the results. It was a stupid attempt at bribing the higher powers - I see that now.

Anyway, Sam made it safely and nothing happened. He did mention some anxiety when he first stepped out. Yeah, no kidding. The announced intention was to build confidence among the citizens, but I don't think it worked. Just because David Blaine spends a week in a block of ice, doesn't mean I want to try it. If anything, seeing the demonstration on TV - seeing Commissioner Sam Adams being lowered 140 feet down a rope - convinced me more than ever that this system is nuts. Especially if the weather is really bad and the dozens of people in the tram car have no political incentive to go out the door. When he gets done naming the tram cars, why not name the emergency exit system? I'd call it the Wedgie Express.

Oh well. Here's the receipt of the cashier's check deposited into a kettle at Fred Meyers. Some of these jokes are just jokes. I didn't mean for a city commissioner to do this.