Badgers, Breath Tests, Bibles, Buses

Post-game Main Street: Michigan 27, Wisconsin 25
That's a .06, or .02 under the legal limit of .08.

That's a .06 - or .02 below the legal limit of .08.

A group of 20-something women emerged giggling from Melange on Main Street. They were at first uncertain if they really wanted to try the free preliminary breath tests being offered at a sidewalk table. But after one had a painless encounter with a hollow plastic tube, they were all convinced, “Oh, I want to try!”

The idea behind the free breath tests, sponsored by the Breddell & Bredell Arrive Alive Foundation, is to give folks an objective assessment of what their blood alcohol content level is compared to how impaired they feel after having something to drink. The first young lady blew a .02, well below the .08 legal limit, but not everyone in her group came in under that upper bound.

Even if this group of females was not out on the prowl, they were dressed sharp enough that they could have been. And The Chronicle’s question, “So, were you just at the game?” was intended as a joke, meant to draw attention to the contrast between their “little black dress” type outfits and the T-shirted post-game crowd (Michigan-Wisconsin). When the answer came back flat, “No, we didn’t go to the game,” we scored that above the legal limit on our own private Blood Alcohol Chronicle scale. But we were not handing out yellow cards like the Arrive Alivers were, on which was written the reading that breath-testees had achieved on the Intoximeter device.

A yellow card attested to the .00 score of one non-drinker, Pastor Sam Johnson, of the Bible Tabernacle, located at 825 N. Maple Rd. Watching one post-game celebrant receive a yellow card with a .13 reading, Pastor Johnson offered, “I’ll trade cards with you if you’ll never drink again!” Johnson said he only drank as a part of communion. Where we were sitting was in the same block of Main Street where the Sears store used to be located back in 1954 when Johnson moved from Mississippi up to Ann Arbor. Johnson worked at that Sears store.

Wisconsin Drinking Team. Where were they when the football team needed a two-pint conversion?

Wisconsin Drinking Team. Where were they when the football team needed a two-pint conversion?

A different post-game celebrant proved that the plastic tube really is perfectly hollow and directs air past a sensor in the measuring device and on straight through – right into the face of anyone who might have been observing closely on the other side. No surprise to The Chronicle’s nose that he scored over .08.

The closest thing we saw to friction between Michigan and Wisconsin fans was two Rush Street servers clapping rhythmically, singing The Victors as a farewell gesture to several Badger fans as the giant red bus they had just boarded pulled away down Main Street.

The Chronicle didn’t document what they eventually scored on their breath tests, but it didn’t matter for Wisconsin Badger fans Jedidiah and Tony, who were headed to the Holiday Inn via taxi. Tomorrow it’s back to Wisconsin the same way they came: Amtrak. Jed will return to work as a civil engineer designing traffic roundabouts, while Tony will go back to work as a construction engineer. Jed was disappointed in the outcome of the game, characterizing the penalty assessed to the Badgers on a two-point conversion attempt where they had apparently tied the game as “a bullshit call.” He conceded, though, that there were maybe a couple of other questionable calls that had gone their way – a fumble recovery that took place out of bounds, for example. If the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Madison doesn’t have Tony on their payroll they should consider it. “You should visit Madison,” he exhorted us not just once.

Miscellaneous: There was briefly a random constellation of three alums of Teeter Talk within a 10-foot radius on the Main Street sidewalk: John Roberts, Chris Easthope (helping John and Lynne Marie Breddell staff the free breath test table), and Frank Anderson.


  1. September 28, 2008 at 11:53 am | permalink

    There’s three trips a day on Amtrak to Madison – one way is $56, says the helpful Amtrak site. Train to Chicago then a “thruway” bus. Total travel time alleged to be about 12 hours.

  2. September 28, 2008 at 11:57 am | permalink

    Popular Mechanics has a 2006 review of “pocket breathalyzers”

    I’m sure technology has evolved since 2006; Amazon prices for some of the cheapest ones (cheap in multiple senses) run as low as $10 for a keychain model.