I was listening to a podcast a few days ago and the host made an offhand comment. “If you believe that,” he said, “I have a bridge to sell you.” This immediately got me to thinking about how unfair that phrase is to the hardworking people whose job it is to actually sell bridges.
I’m sure selling bridges is already a daunting task. They’re expensive. There are permits to contend with. Environmental impact studies must be made.
Plus, you can’t just bullshit your way through the sales pitch. A bridge may look simple enough — it’s a structure that lets you cross a body of water without getting your shoes or tires wet, right? — but there’s more to it than laying down a really long plank and calling it good. You’ve gotta be well-versed on abutments and pier caps, arches and girders, wing walls and deck slabs. Even with all that knowledge, you have to know which type of bridge to recommend. Is a truss bridge a better solution than a cantilever bridge? When should you go with a suspension bridge versus a cable-stayed bridge? Will a beam bridge be more effective than a tied arch bridge?
And you have to be savvy enough to understand that the bridge over troubled water in that Simon & Garfunkel song is a metaphorical bridge. It’s not real.
Clearly, people who sell bridges already have an uphill battle. An idiom implying gullibility puts them at an even bigger disadvantage. If you walk into a meeting with a bunch of city planners and say, “I have a bridge to sell you,” they’re going to eye you suspiciously. “I’m not falling for that, buddy,” they’ll say, before showing you the door. Nobody will ever believe you!
It’s all George C. Parker’s fault. He was a con man who struck it rich “selling” the Brooklyn Bridge to unsuspecting immigrants. The cops had to forcibly remove a bunch of his victims when they tried to erect toll booths. True story. Parker was convicted of fraud and sentenced to life in Sing Sing prison, where he died in 1936. But the damage was already done. Bridge sellers all over the world are still paying for that shyster’s exploits almost a century later.
In a show of solidarity with bridge sellers, I’m vowing to never again use that phrase. Will you stand with me? With us?
Thought I’d update you on my crypto journey thus far. Six weeks in, and my assets are up $27.73. Hardly a windfall, but the last time I checked in, I was a whopping 8 cents richer. Cryptocurrency has performed solidly this past week. Oddly enough, the war in Ukraine has been a boon for crypto. Zelensky’s government has raised over $100M in crypto donations, which is helping to legitimize it. Some experts are predicting the use of cryptocurrencies will accelerate.
I continue to automatically invest $25 per week in Bitcoin and $25 in Ethereum, on different days of the week (Tuesday and Thursday). I currently own .00349743 BTC and .06743669 ETH. Oh, and $11.05 in Stellar Lumens. That one is valued at 22 cents apiece, but it was 20 cents when I got in, so percentage-wise, that’s been my best ROI. It’s nice to own a bunch of something rather than a minuscule fraction. Coinbase gave me $10 in Lumens for free for watching some videos, so…even better!
I will admit to having second thoughts last week. I have another $900 to invest, but I started to think about how I could use that money to buy a remote starter for my car and still have a few hundred dollars left over. Awfully tempting. But now that it’s springtime, and we probably won’t have any more subzero temps, it seems less urgent. Plus, I can’t pull out now. That would be letting down Ukraine.
Besides, nobody gets rich without taking a few risks.
Maybe if I let it all ride, I’ll have enough to buy the Brooklyn Bridge in 20 years.