Oh to be young, carefree, stupid and lucky…
I was a senior in high school. Myself and an extended group of friends had a regular habit of smoking a joint or three when we’d get out of school, usually ending up at somebody’s house but sometimes going on a ‘boneride’ in a few neighboring rural towns where police presence was sparse and roads were fit for a nice cruise. I’m driving my parents then fairly new 1995 Chevy Lumina and we’re at the end of our little cruise, wrapping back towards my hometown by an old country road to the north.
Along this road is a rather large cornfield that has a 90 degree turn at one point, forming a corner of the field. The road is dirt. There is an embankment abutting the road, but it is largely disguised by some taller grass.
Some of my friends with off-road vehicles had recently begun taking to the brilliant practice of ripping through some of these cornfields on occasion. I, of course, knew this to be a foolish exercise and would certainly not subject my parents sedan to such a foolhardy endeavor. But alas, I was 17, I was high, and I was momentarily vulnerable to peer-pressure and the prospect of a cheap thrill.
So I had a full car and my pals got to convincing me to take a quick jaunt through that corner section of the field. Seemed safe enough. It was the fall, the remains of the field were withered and I had decent visibility over the top of the stalks, and besides, it was just a wee section of real estate, what could possibly go wrong!?!
I slowed to a modest speed that seemed appropriate for barreling into well-intending produce (perhaps 15 mph) and readied myself to exit the road and enter the unknown. Now as I said, there was an embankment of dirt on the side of the road, maybe a foot to a foot and a half high, obscured by tall grass a few feet in height. I had the radio blaring and we all had that juvenile giddiness and excitement that only manifests when you’re about to do something stupid and have a poor grasp of consequences. Oh, and we were all stoned off our asses.
So just as I’m guiding the S.S. Idiotship towards a fine swath of unwitting corn, my frontseat passenger exclaims loudly, “ROCK!!!”. But in the throes of excitement we are immersed in and perhaps “Welcome to the Jungle” cranking out of the factory speakers (the song at that moment is one detail I’m foggy on, I want to say it was a Pink Floyd number, but it may as well have been that song as it would appropriately describe the mood), all I could respond with was, “hell yeah, rock on man!!”
And suddenly, BANG!! We stop on a dime. What the hell did we hit?? No idea, but the floorboard directly beneath my right leg is pushed up and nearly has my leg pinned to the bottom of the dash. We all get out of the car and take a look…and right behind that tall grass on the embankment is a jagged, not huge, but perfectly placed mini boulder, embedded in the chassis of the car. Shit! Now all of us stoned little jackalopes are trying to drum up solutions in a timely fashion, being how the car still reeks of pot and we really don’t want anyone to stop by and offer any help, because obviously the worst thing that could happen at that point is this getting back to my parents.
Luckily no police or anyone of friendly, helpful consequence drove by, and it took us a good hour to have the revelation that there was a jack in the trunk of the car as we worked through a piss-poor routine of shoddy problem solving exercises. Now, lifting a vehicle a good foot+ off the ground on very unstable footing and a lord-knows-how-heavy chunk of sediment crammed into the frame was not a particularly ideal solution, but ultimately (after raising the car up twice in the wrong spots) it worked. The rock actually lifted off the ground with the car, we had to poke at it with a stick for it to drop. Then my friend and I (I’m lucky anyone would help me on this) had to position ourselves right in a spot where we could have enough leverage to drag that thing out of the way. I can’t estimate exactly how heavy it was but we were able to move it far enough out of the way.
Phew! Now what!?! I can’t just take this terribly molested vehicle back to my parents or a mechanic, we did a quick inspection of the undercarriage and the rock appeared to narrowly miss important something-or-anothers on both sides…so we got back in. Everything seemed in perfect working order and I had just enough to room to get my leg over the misshapen hump in the floor to man the pedals and drive back to my buddies house where I scientifically worked my way through a series of bashing tools such as a hammer and a 5 lb. dumbbell before settling on a technique of battering with the end of an aluminum baseball bat. I managed to even the floor out to a point that you couldn’t even tell that anything happened. Another deeper inspection of the undercarriage revealed no major damage, just a lot of gouged up metal.
Nothing ever became of it. The car lasted another 8 years and a good 160k miles overall. But boy did I get lucky. Could’ve easily gotten arrested. Could’ve easily gotten crushed trying to pull that boulder out of there. Very closely had my leg crushed. I suppose I could’ve died (getting dramatic, but why not? Blood loss, etc.), nevermind what could’ve happened to any passengers. All for trying to have a quick go at some dead corn, high on drugs. Kids, don’t do drugs. But if you must, don’t go driving through any cornfields. But if you must, at least sweep the god damn perimeter for foreign objects.