Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let's discuss this foofaraw (and yes, I'm very excited about the word foofaraw. I hope you are too)

The Golden Gate Bridge, once the subject of fawning '30s news reels about Modern Man's Butt-Whooping Engineering prowess and still the most pervasive symbol of San Francisco, is now in the middle of a very public brouhaha. The issue at hand is suicide barriers: some liken the bridge to a "loaded gun" and champion one of five different designs that hope to drastically cut down the amount of jumpers; others think $50 million dollars to deface a national monument so people can commit suicide elsewhere is probably not the best use of fiscal resources.

It's a sticky situation. If you go one way, you're crudding up something iconic and beautiful to (possibly) save some lives; if you go the other, you sound like a dick.

Essentially, the barrier plans fit into one of two categories: nets & railings. Four designs are similar: either vertical or horizontal bars outside or in place of the existing railing. To me, they look like prison bars, which isn't really the best greeting you can give an incoming tourist: "San Francisco: It's like a beautiful jail, except: less shiv-ings." Boo that. The other is a net, something like 20 feet under the bridge, which begs the question, if you jump off the bridge and land in a net, wouldn't you just then jump off the net? They could've saved the $2 million they invested on that idea and given it to me.

For my money (and some of it would in fact be my money), these ideas suck. Jungle gyms taught me that bars can be climbed and the net idea, well, we went over that. Plus, while we're debating this, there's no actual divider between north and south bound traffic on the bridge to prevent head on collisions, thereby preventing people who don't want to die from dying. I'd tackle that first. What we're left with here is five options, all of which have the laudable goal of saving lives but the sticky wickets of ugliness, expense, and probable uselessness.

Of course, there's a middle ground. And that middle ground is Spider-Man.

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I read many tales of Spider-Man swinging from rooftops to rescue falling pedestrians/girlfriends/octogenarian legal guardians. And you know what? He never. Missed. Once.

There are downsides, naturally: Spider-Man can't work 24 hours a day and he's only one man (though he's radioactive and spandexed, so he's really better than any other man). Furthermore, you know rabid fanboys from all corners of the earth would jump off the Golden Gate just to be rescued by the webbed avenger. But if you pay Peter Parker $50 million cash, he's quitting his weak-ass photo job at the Daily Bugle and coming to the bay. If basketball free agency has taught me anything, it's that you go on, take the money and run.

Wait. You know what? Now that I think of it, Spider-Man could just construct a hugemongous web beneath the bridge, thus saving both his time and our money. Once a night, he goes out, frees the failed suicides, gives them a stern talking to, and sets them free before retreating to his Nob Hill loft to play World of Warcraft until his eyes bleed. This could totally work. Contact your Supervisor.


SOL's view said...

That Spidie web idea would so totally work. And save a bundle.

And although I think we should be allowed to choose the way we die, I feel for the clean up crew.

Bars. Nets. No longer could a tourist climb up for a shot and lean out over the .... oops ....

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