PORTLAND, ME — It’s February once again, and the City of Portland plans on holding their 231st sidewalk snow maze competition. Do you have what it takes to get to work on time?
Contestants will be chosen from amongst service workers living off-peninsula, and will be pitted against one another for three consecutive days in a race to get to their service jobs downtown, following the next big snowstorm to hit our city. Using their usual departure time, they must correctly guess which sidewalks have been plowed, which plowed sidewalks don’t end in a dead end snowbanks, and which sidewalks are free of sunken pits filled with shin-deep water and slush. Sunglasses are not allowed to meliorate snow-blindness, and the contestants are advised to carry a tote bag containing their lunch and a change of shoes and pants.
To ensure fairness for the contestants, a complex rubric is used to determine the victorious wage worker. All wet socks will be rung out upon completion of the race, which will count against their arrival time. Contestants who are fired from their service jobs for being late are automatically disqualified. Contestants are allowed to use a car, though most contestants generally can’t afford to drive one on account of Portland’s skyrocketing rents. Mayor Ethan Strimling has instructed plow trucks not to make any changes in the amount of cleared crosswalk openings that they normally plow closed. Homeowners are encouraged to wildly vary the width of pathways they usually shovel in front of their houses.
The winner of the 231st annual Sidewalk Snow Maze Games will receive a cellphone call from their boss telling them “the shop is closed, don’t bother coming into work.”
Proceeds from the race will be used by the city to hire more parking enforcement officers in the West End.