Signs Of Impending Financial Doom: Potholes

In this first of a series of classes about financial indicators, let us turn now to potholes. Everyone open your economics books to page 235, and … What? Of course some economics book somewhere uses potholes as an indicator – those economists have a theory about everything. They always use the same graph with two angled lines to explain everything, but it’s always tracking something different.

Potholes. Is it just me, or are there a lot more of them this year, considering how early it is in the winter? Yes, I grew up in New England, and yes, I understand frost heaves and plow damage. But there seem to be a lot of potholes already, even though we’ve had less than a handful of bad storms. If this trend continues throughout the winter, we’ll all need 4×4’s to drive through some towns pretty soon.

Most of them are the simple “patch the snowplow chipped up”, and aren’t very deep. But some stretches of roadway have dozens, in big long zigzag lines wherever there was previous road repair. There are a handful of larger potholes, although we all know that once they start, it’s only a matter of time until they grow. I’ve seen a few that expose two layers of pavement below on some roads that have been frequently patched instead of being resurfaced.

Only a few wheel-sized potholes of death so far, and no car-swallowing ones, at least not on my commute. But is this some freak factor of the recent Ice Of Slippery Death storms? Or is this a hidden financial crisis indicator that as yet is under reported in the media? Could this be the key to understanding financial markets? Might New England road maintenance expenditures not be a forerunner of a larger metric, like, I dunno, salt futures? Enquiring minds want to know!

Pothole Resources

On state highways:

To report a pothole on a state highway, contact your District Headquarters. To find out which MassHighway District your city or town belongs to, Click here.

Interesting. Googling “report a pothole” turns up a lot of links in Hawaii. Also, someone has reportedly use a hovercraft and GPS to create a map of Barbados potholes – they’re not just for frost heaves anymore!

I will not run alloy wheels in winter. I will not ..

.. run alloy wheels when it’s snowing. I will not run alloy wheels during pothole season, especially in New England. I will not ignore the advice of my mechanic, my body shop, my car friend: to never run alloy wheels in the winter. I will not let vanity get the best of me; I will be content with plain black fixable steel rims in the winter.

Oh great gods of winter; of snow; of New England; of potholes; of wheels and tires and cars; I beg you to forgive me my vanity; nay, my hubris, of running my (previously four in number), very pretty and light 5 open spoke O.Z. Racing alloy 15in wheels for the past two winters.

I have heard your clarion call, er, thunk, as I pass over your signs: potholes, frost heaves, uneven pavement, gravel in the road. I have felt the soft squishy drive of a flat tire. I have suffered the shakes, shimmies, and shudders of wheels that are no longer round, nay, of wheels that are ovals. I have dreaded being late for everything as I see the bulge of a slowly leaking tire.

I hear and feel your call; now I understand. I am but human: vanity is in my nature; hubris is my kind’s unavoidable curse. I beg to be forgiven my past transgressions. I pray that my remaining three Blizzaks – wondrous tires of snow – shall be allowed to serve me again for the next winter. I acknowledge and pledge that I will install them onto wheels of steel in the future.

After I buy a new fourth tire, of course.


For Sale: one O.Z. Racing 15in rim, round. Open 5 spoke design; spokes have a smoothly rounded face and a slight taper. Silver paint finish (original). Slight curb gouge on edge.

For Sale: two O.Z. Racing 15in rims, oval. Open 5 spoke design; spokes have a smoothly rounded face and a slight taper. Silver paint finish (original). One good condition; one with slight curb rash. Not recommended for daily driver. Or any driving at all, actually.