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Inside the Pothole Coverup

By The Second City | Jan 17, 2014

It’s almost a cliché at this point. You’re cruisin’ down Willowlane Road in downtown Chicago, the icy-cold wind in your hair, headin’ to get some classic Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza (classic downtown Chicago!), when all of a sudden…


Your front left tire blows out.

Your car’s swerving like you’re 14 and playing “California Dreamin’” in the arcade in your hometown’s only Mexican restaurant.

You run a red light.

You hit an eight-year-old boy.

On his birthday.

The eight-year-old is your son.

The potholes are back, Chicago. And they’re hungry.

As you probably know, potholes were invented in 1973 to give orange faces on the local news something to talk about for forty years. Potholes occur when snow and ice melt during Chicago’s freeze-thaw season (or as I like to call it, A TYPICAL MARRIAGE), when melted ice seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by traffic.


The Chicagoland Pothole Coverup is as old as time. It all started in 1973, otherwise known as the year that the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (or OAPEC) proclaimed an embargo that led to a major oil crisis.

Mayor Richard J. Daley wasn’t going to take this news lying down.

Desperate to find a solution to the crisis, Old Man Daley hired workers across Chicago to start digging, hoping to strike an oil field.  If you’re familiar with Chicago, especially the downtown area near historic Burp Street, you know that our fine city was built on top of a swamp. So when Old Man Daley’s crew dug under the pavement on the 1400 block of Burp Street, what they found was absolutely incredible: an ecosystem filled to the brim with living, breathing dinosaurs.


Now, it seems like the story would end here. Mayor Daley found a pile of live dinosaurs under the pavement in downtown Chicago! Surely Chicago would become the most popular tourist destination in the world! But Old Man Daley was a smart cookie, and he knew that the second he sold out for tourism was the moment he lost all that sweet, sweet oil money. Because we all know what dinosaur bones turn into (eventually)… OIL!

So Old Man Daley did what any red-blooded Chicagoan would do: he turned all of those dinosaurs into hot, steamy oil using the meat factories of New Santa Barbara Street and sold it by the barrel to his buddies in the mob, who then turned around and sold it to the oil tycoons of Shell and Citgo.

The oil crisis was over—all thanks to Old Man Daley.

“But wait!” You might be thinking. “Why do we STILL have potholes in Chicago? Why did a hole in the earth swallow my fancy fixed-gear bike just last week? Who can I blame for my own inability to look straight ahead while operating a large chunk of metal?”

Well, Dear Reader, you can blame the dinosaurs. Because Old Man Daley didn’t catch them all. Because the dinosaurs are still below us. And guess what—they’re hungry.

Look at the facts! Open your eyes! Follow the money! The dinosaurs of the forgotten Daley Swamp are still living, breathing, writhing and procreating, desperately trying to escape from the bowels of their swampy hell into the frozen tundra of the land above!

This goes all the way to the top! Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in on it.

How do I know? Because the name “MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL” is an anagram for KING OF THE UNDERGROUND DINOSAURS.

We are all just sitting ducks, waiting for the dinosaurs to get stronger from the melty residue of snow and ice, and then they will eat us and get even more powerful– like bigger dinosaurs.

Soon, they will erupt from the very ground we trod upon, bursting through the icy Agrocrag like a champion child on Nickelodeon Guts. Even our young and our elderly are not safe from these ancient tyrants; they will gnash the bones of our friends and foe alike! The streets will run with the blood and dust from the crushed skulls of our kin, as the glasses of water on our Jeeps quake with the heavy gait of the angry, hungry, capitalist Animal-Gods.

They are coming, Chicago. And I, for one, will not stand idly by.

We must fight back against the underground lizard (amphibian?) creatures and the evil KING OF THE UNDERGROUND DINOSAURS mayor! What do we do? We plug their holes non-sexually!

Fight the dinosaurs by plugging their little earth-holes with the bouncy tarp of a trampoline! They are blocking agents and also fun ‘n fitness for whole family!

Stand together and fight, People of Chicago! United, we can clean up Old Man Daley’s mess and defeat all of the subterranean amphibian (lizard?) freaks!

This time, Chicago, we are the ones who are hungry.

Kristina Felske is a writer, actor, and improviser currently living in Chicago. She is an editor and regular contributor to the daily humor site The Other Otter ( and has a performance-y resume posted on You can tweet her @kristinafelske.

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