Or at least, I couldn’t. I certainly wasn’t trying to when I did.
Last week, when we were hurrying about to go to the beach for a few days, I noticed that my old truck’s bed had a lot of water standing in it. I generally park it off to the side of our driveway under some trees, and the way the pine-needle-covered surface slopes, the water couldn’t escape.
So I backed it out to let it drain onto the driveway, which slopes the other way.
Then I had a bright idea (watch out for these, by the way). I decided to back the truck into its usual position, so if it rained, the water would drain out.
The idea was simple enough, but delicate to execute, because it involves slightly tricky maneuvering to avoid backing into a couple of trees and not running over some azalea bushes. But I was careful, very careful, with most of my attention focused on the trees.
Suddenly, I heard this grinding, wrenching sound that I didn’t understand — I was still a foot and a half from the nearest tree. Whatever it was, I couldn’t back up any further. I decided I would pull forward away from it before changing my angle and backing up again.
But I couldn’t pull forward, either. It was like some giant, supernatural hand had a grip on the truck. And each careful attempt to move either way produced slight noises that suggested I would hear huge noises again soon if I gave it more gas.
So I turned off the truck, got out, and peered under the bed from the rear. I saw the tailpipe you see in the photo above, bent almost double. I had backed over a stump of a pine we had removed sometime back.
This stump had not figured into my calculations, because it rose only about four inches above the ground immediately surrounding it. I should have cleared it easily, and would have on a level surface. But back here in the trees, there was sort of a dip in the ground, and my rear tires were in that dip. So the stump had easily bent the pipe into the shape you see.
But that’s not the really genius, amazing part of what I did. With its new shape — which I would describe as a sort of fishhook, or maybe grappling hook — my tailpipe had dug into the stump to a surprisingly firm degree, which was why the truck was going nowhere.
Nothing I could do right then. So I drove away to the beach — in a different vehicle, of course — with a troubled mind. I had a plan, but I couldn’t execute it right then.
Several days later, when we were back and both my sons were at the house, I got them to lift up on the bed slightly — a millimeter or two would do — and I drove off the stump easily.
The next day I drove off to buy a tailpipe and a new muffler, since the old one had suffered damage in the incident. Cost me a little over two hundred bucks. Happy New Year.
Anyway, I’m still sort of marveling at what I did.
Today, I was going to work on that stump with chainsaw and ax and see how close I can get it down to ground level. But it’s raining today. And I suppose the truck bed is filling back up…