The potholes had cost Mark Willoughby three vehicles. Can you believe it? Three vehicles.
After one year, his 1967 white Cadillac had to be traded in. It rattled like crazy. He had replaced the shocks four times. And the passenger door fell off.
So, he figured getting a truck would be the best way to go to survive Pothole-adama. Unfortunately, the Ford Super Duper didn’t make it either. The truck hit a pothole, blew a tire, flipped and hit a tree. The tree won.
It was obvious he needed something tough as nails. He went for a Jeep. The pothole the Jeep hit suddenly dropped into a sinkhole. It was only the grace of God that saved him.
With that, Mark decided he’d had enough. Something had to give. The whole darn city, every street, was marked with potholes.
It was Tuesday when he walked into the City Council Chambers. Officer Petry tried to stop him but Mark pushed him aside. He walked down to the podium. “Excuse me, Mayor. Gentlemen and Councilwoman Tate. I am here with a Citizen’s complaint.”
The Mayor came out with a “What the—”
“Never you mind,” Mark confronted the Mayor. “I want action, and I want it now. You gentlemen and Councilwoman have sixty days to repair every pothole in this city. And I mean every pothole. Or there will be hell to pay.”
“Now you can’t threaten us,” Councilwoman Tate put in her two cents.
“I’m not threatening. I am a-promising.” Then Mark stormed out of the council chambers.
As you might guess, the City Council didn’t take the threat lying down. They sent the Police Chief and his three officers after Mark Willoughby on a Wanted Dead or Alive search. Mark was nowhere to be found. They tried Butkus’ Baby Back Ribs where all the manly men in the city hung out. Nada Willoughby. They tried the Bust-a-Gut-and-Piss Tavern. Still no Willoughby. They stopped off at the Pecos Bill Firing Range. No Willoughby there either.
On the sixty-first day, he walked into the council chambers. “I warned you.”
“What are you talking about?”
Mark stepped out of the way. Two of the High School’s best athletes, one a pitcher and one a quarterback, threw two pies. One landed in the Mayor’s face and one in Councilwoman Tate’s. But they didn’t stop there. They continued until all nine of the City Council had been pied along with Officer Petty. The two athletes stepped aside and a photographer snapped each of the Council’s schnozzles.
Then Willoughby and his gang of three were gone.
The next morning the pie-in was on the front page of the newspaper. On top of that, no citizen could drive down any street without a surprise. From each pothole, there was a pie-faced member of the Council staring up at them.
That afternoon the City Council met. Councilwoman Tate made a motion. Every pothole in the City was to be filled in. That way their pie-faces would be covered. It passed with a unanimous assent. Once that was done, they thought incident would be forgotten.
Unfortunately, that incident fifty years ago has not been forgotten. It is in the state’s official history, and all the high schools across the nation teach it.
It even became a hit song a few years back:
“You’ve heard ‘Wait
till you see the whites of their eyes,’
and ‘Remember the Maine and the Alamo.’
I want to tell you ’bout ‘The Willoughby Surprise’
and a City Council’s schnoz.”