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Bong Bridge is open but sadly, it still leads to Wisconsin

So construction on the Bong Bridge is finally finished, which means Wisconsin is once again open for business. This makes me happier than a local union leader who discovers yet another line that Don Ness has crossed. ("He stepped all over my knock-knock joke punchline! Ban him for life!!!")

The reason it makes me merry is that I happen to enjoy paying taxes on my clothing, which you have to do over in Wisconsin. Here in Minnesota, clothing seems to be the one item that doesn't carry an additional charge, which is weird because this state has a long history of taking something you want to buy and slapping more dough onto the final price than Bea Ojakangas making bacon butter krumkakes.

And it doesn't matter which political party ... Democrat, Republican or whatever Jesse Ventura was that one time, Minnesota's governors traditionally haven't met a tax they didn't want to kiss full on the dollar sign. Sure, they may have renamed it in order to fool me (for example, Tim Pawlenty's Smoker's-Fee-Not-A-Tax-Wink-Wink-Nudge-Nudge-I-Balanced-The-Budget-Without-Raising-Taxes-What?-Quit-Looking-At-Me-Like-That) but I didn't care. I don't mind paying taxes.

I believe there's value in the government trying to subsidize things like police officers and playgrounds and libraries and roads. Communities usually fall into trouble when they rely too much on other funding sources like street light fees, tax cuts and casinos. For the common good, I believe we should all pitch in with our share of additional revenue. (Unless you're talking about eating out. Those taxes should definitely be paid for by tourists who enjoy watered-down drinks and lake views.) Of course, there will be people who disagree with me and claim I'm a dunderhead for liking to pay taxes, and to those people I say: If I'm such an idiot then why did you marry me?

But back to that less controversial, more pleasant topic of road construction. I didn't think the Bong Bridge was ever going to be finished. Whenever I approached the span from West Duluth, I was rebuffed by guys in hard hats holding shovels and pointing at various things. But much like every Northland construction project, they were forced to finish before Old Man Winter showed up to blow his frozen breath all over their giant cranes and coffee breaks. And now that Wisconsin is ready for me once again, I will proudly pad Scott Walker's retirement fund by purchasing my Spiderman underpants at the Superior Target.

Like a patriotic, dunderheaded American!

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater, and visit their website at (Brian’s Quick Quiz™: Who has the icier breath? Old Man Winter or Chuck Horton giving his concession speech?)

Brian Matuszak

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at