Bob Sweigert


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August 20, 2013
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Grasshopper Soup: Watch out for humans crossing the road

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he saw his picture on a sign that said “Chicken Crossing.” But what came first, the chicken, or the chicken crossing sign?

We have deer crossings, bear crossings, alligator crossings, kangaroo crossings, moose crossings and probably Yeti crossing signs as well. All over the world, creatures of all sizes and shapes have their own road crossing sign with their picture on it.

While we give other animals plenty of leeway to cross the road wherever they please, we are not as generous, or as kind, to our own kind. We know where humans inevitably cross the road, like on the north side of Fanny Bridge, so, obviously, the sign on the east side of the road there that says “No Pedestrian Crossing” is wrong, because everybody knows that people cross the road there all the time, especially on a busy summer day.

If you’re lucky, you can see them crossing with their young at sunrise or sunset. It’s a beautiful sight. It’s just as awe-inspiring as seeing a bear with cubs crossing the road.

The two-legged creature we call a pedestrian (another word for human) has good reason to cross the road — the Fanny Bridge trout for one, and the chocolate chip cookies at the Dam Café. Humans are also attracted to the water in Lake Tahoe.

We give permission for all God’s creatures to cross the road wherever they want, and we go to great lengths to install big yellow signs with black silhouettes of the animal to warn ourselves to look out for them as they cross the road in the path of our big, heavy, fast moving lethal weapons. We have duck crossing signs on the North Shore. Surely we can give humans the same amount of respect we give to a duck.

Like all animals that roam the earth, humans are too smart to go out of their way looking for a sign to tell them where to cross the road. Whenever possible they walk in a straight line. Humans are the smartest animal of all, with exceptions of course. Their instincts tell them that a straight line is the shortest route to food, water and souvenirs. And they know they don’t need permission to cross the road. Hell, they built the road!

So, the “No Pedestrian Crossing” sign at Fanny Bridge is wrong. It should be yellow, and much bigger, and it should say “Human Crossing,” and have a picture of a tourist with a camera, or a woman with a stroller; and it should be turned 90 degrees, so approaching drivers can read it. The highly evolved bi-ped trying to cross the road there is only walking the planet freely the way God intended all his creatures with feet to do.

But signs on bathroom doors may soon be obsolete. Our state governor just signed a bill that says kids in Kindergarten through grade 12 can use whichever bathroom or locker room suits their fancy, or their curiosity, on any given day if they feel like they may actually be a member of the opposite sex, regardless of their anatomy.

Smart heterosexual students may take advantage of the opportunity. Guys will say they feel like a girl and want to be a cheerleader. That way they can shower with the girls! Girls will say they feel like a boy and want to be on the wrestling team so they can shower with the guys.

Where was Governor Jerry Brown when I was in high school?

Animals can’t read anyway. Even where there is a sign, say, for an aardvark to cross the road, you might find one that didn’t get halfway across before a big truck flattened him.

At least humans know what to watch out for when crossing the road. The greatest danger to them is other humans in cars who are in a hurry, and not interested in viewing wildlife.

When you see humans crossing the road at Fanny Bridge, please remain in your car with the windows rolled up. Try to stay calm, and do not feed them.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 20, 2013 05:35PM Published Aug 20, 2013 01:04PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.