Two old engineers are talking of their lives and boasting of their greatest projects. One of the engineers explains how he had designed one of the greatest bridges ever made.
“We built it across a river gorge…It was wide and deep.
We spent two years studying the land, and choosing designs and materials.
We hired the best engineers and designed the bridge, which took another five years.
We contracted the largest engineering firms to build the structures, the towers, the tollbooths, and the roads that would connect the bridge to the main highways. Dozens died during the construction. Under the road level we had trains, and a special path for cyclists.
That bridge represented years of my life.”
The second man reflects for a while, then speaks.
“One evening me and a friend got drunk on vodka, and we threw a rope across a gorge…just a rope, tied to two trees.
There were two villages, one at each side. At first, people pulled packages across that rope with a pulley and string. Then someone threw a second rope, and built a foot walk.
It was dangerous, but the kids loved it. A group of men then rebuilt that, made it solid, and women started to cross, everyday, with their produce. A market grew up on one side of the bridge, and slowly that became a large town, because there was a lot of space for houses. The rope bridge got replaced with a wooden bridge, to allow horses and carts to cross. Then the town built a real stone bridge, with metal beams.
Later, they replaced the stone part with steel, and today there’s a suspension bridge standing in that same spot.”
The first engineer is silent.
“Funny thing…my bridge was demolished about ten years after we built it. Turns out it was built in the wrong place and no one wanted to use it. Some guys had thrown a rope across the gorge, a few miles further downstream, and that’s where everyone went.”