The Mackinac Bridge Fiasco


The Story

Medical science says that the male frontal lobe is not fully developed until age 22-23. That means teenage boys are often more susceptible to doing stupid things that involve taking chances. Some of those stupid things are just illogical but others are downright dangerous. Most men who are reading this can identify with that statement.

Here's an example of that concept: In the summer of 1960, Jerry Blair (who is writing this) and Rusty Bourquin (who unfortunately died in 1983) went to Mackinaw City to spend several days in a tent at the state park near the bridge to do some sightseeing and camp out. On their last day there, we decided to buy a pint of paint and a brush at the local hardware store. That night we climbed onto the first pillar of the Mackinac Bridge and walked out about 50 yards on the bottom truss to the first stanchion which was positioned well above the water. It was much more difficult to navigate our way out there than we had expected. It took some time. And care was essential. Dumb.
The goal was to paint "Lansing Everett 1961" along with our autographs on the cement support. Problem was that to reach the support, I had to hold Rusty upside down by his beltstrap. I remember holding him as tight as I could. Again, dumb.

Rusty was a little guy and not too hard to hold onto. So, I held him by his belt as he leaned over to do the painting upside down. Because he was upside down, and a bit disoriented, Rusty painted the "J" in Jerry backwards. Did I mention dumb yet? See the photo below and judge for yourself.

Since getting that far out had been pretty difficult, we decided to come back a different way. So we climbed up a stairway to a manhole, pushed off the lid, waved at a car coming by thinking that would be funny, then jumped onto the road and ran towards the base of the bridge. It was about 3 AM and we didn't didn't know for sure if the car saw us. But it did. The driver must have told the bridge patrol because a police car saw us heading toward the campground. It followed with its search lights sweeping the area. We jumped into our tent, pulled the flap shut and didn't move. After an hour or so the police left. We pulled up the tent, hastily threw it into the car and left town driving with the headlights off for more stealth. In hindsight this was cazy, but at the time it seemed like the thing to do.

We left our business card painted on the brdge with the wording "Lansing Everett 1961 Rusty-Jerry." How stupid was that?? We had just told everyone exactly who we were and where to find us.

I'm blaming this stunt on our 17-year-old frontal lobes.

Since we did not have a camera, we had someone we met (a girl named Sherry Ward) take a picture and mail us the print.

So, that's the story and I'm sticking to it. Rusty would think it was funny to tell the tale upon ourselves after all these years. He had quite a sense of humor. All this proves that our frontal lobes had a ways to go before becoming mature. Thankfully, the authorities let the statute of limitations expire. They must have had bigger fools to deal with than us.

QED (Latin for quod erat demonstratum meaning "which was to be proved.")

And what has been proven is that we were idiots.


Jerry Blair

The Evidence