After I missed two dam explosions that most people said were a dam letdown, I decided to get up close and personal with the project and investigate it my own dam self.
It should be noted that I dam sure ain't objective about this. First, I am a kayaker. Now I'm not one of those dam kayakers who plays around in rapids and flips upside down a lot. I'm the kind of kayaker who likes to prop his feet up on the kayak as it floats peacefully down a quiet stretch of water while I eat a ham sandwich.
Secondly, while I thought the Eagle and Phenix Dam was quite the dam accomplishment for having been build more than 150 years ago, I like the idea of the river being restored to its roaring natural state. I don't know if all the proposed economic impact will be realized, but it's a sight to behold and will forever more be a draw, so hopefully it'll indeed be as good for the economy as it is for recreation and other purposes.
But there's one thing for certain: Everyone seems a little disappointed in the dam blastings because no one got killed or lost any limbs or any of that stuff the thousand or so folks showed up to see a couple weeks ago. There have been two blasts to breach the Eagle and Phenix Dam, and the rest has been slated to be dismantled the good old fashioned way, by Jimmy Earl Bonnaroo of Seale and his sledgehammer. All they were going to have to do is make sure they pointed Jimmy Earl in the right direction after he fueled up on some PBRs, otherwise we might not have a Lake Eufaula.
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While I was touring the area Monday, I ran into U.S. Department of Dam Near Everything Secretary Dr. Harold Highwater, who told me the plans had changed.
"Everyone seemed to think we might have made a little too much to-do out the first blast, and I'm afraid they might lose interest," Dr. Highwater said. "After all, there are like 13 kayakers in West Central Georgia, but there are about 296,326 who like to see stuff blow up. They are an underserved group in this case."
To that end, a new firm has been called in to finish off the Eagle and Phenix Dam, Ahmadinejad Explosives. The company promises that residents will get what they want if they show up for the newly planned third blast. Debris will blow at least 100 stories into the air and land in three states. Crappie will rain from the sky. Maybe a few legs.
And if they can't cut it, Dr. Highwater said they still have an ace in the hold for "getting the dam blowed up real good." They have Wanda "The Bang Bang Lady" Lamb on a retainer.
Frankly, I'm a little disappointed they didn't let Wanda set off the first explosion anyway. That would have been a great publicity stunt. And I've seen some of that stuff in her fireworks store, so even if it didn't get blowed up real good, it would be might purty.
One day all these explosions will be memories, and all we'll be left with is a beautiful, roaring river that has been given its former life back. By then, Georgia politicians may have succeeded in their efforts to dam up the equally beautiful Flint whitewater at underappreciated Sprewell Bluff so that Atlanta can get its hands on more water. Kinda like helping a crack addict by giving them more crack. Dam politicians!
And if they do succeed in damming it, I hope they'll let me be the one to blow it up someday.
I'll bring Wanda along for backup.
Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.