Another Car Story - 11.03.97

This story starts out about five years ago, before my freshman year of college. It was during the middle of June, and we were getting one of the bigger rainfalls of the year. The farmers were happy, because it was helpful for the crops, and it seemed like a relief from the first few very hot days of the summer. Over the course of a two-day period, it had rained several inches, and it was finally starting to let up. As soon as it had stopped, my little brother was bugging me to get me to drive him out to his friends farm so he could ride their four-wheeler.

We hopped in my car and headed out of town. On the West side of town, there was a large dumptruck parked across the highway to keep people from passing. The rain from the previous few days had caused mud to slide down from an enbankment beside the road and onto the pavement. We looked a little closer and saw that there were car tracks that went around the right side of it on the shoulder of the road. Knowing it would have been 10 minutes or more to take alternative routes, I decided that I would swing around where the other cars had been and stay on the short route. My brother agreed that we could make it, so I eased my car back into drive and took it slow.

As I pulled onto the shoulder, I could feel the right side of my car (which was now on the grass) starting to slip a bit. I turned the wheel and pushed on the gas, but it made no difference. My car slid even further and went over the edge into the shallow ditch. I pushed the gas pedal, but it was no use. I could see grass and mud flying out from under the back tires, but we were going nowhere. I got out of the car and my brother then slid into the driver's seat. The ground was really soft, but I was able to get a decent foothold. With my brother on the acceleration and me rocking the best I could, we somehow managed to get the car to move back and forth. After a few moments of this, the car took hold of some good ground and burst its way out onto the road again. Both myself and the car were completely covered in mud and grass, so we decided to head back home.

My parents weren't home when we arrived, so we quickly got to work on cleaning the car, hoping that we could finish before they got home. We knew they would wonder what had happened and then the inevitable questions of "What were you doing?" and "Why don't you take better care of your car?" would be asked. After we cleaned off a good portion of the muck, there was another problem to attend to. There was a huge dent on the right door where the car had come to rest against something in the ditch. It was about 2 feet across and would be impossible to hide.

I immediately looked inside the door to see how easy it would be to disassemble and push out the dent by hand. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out where to even start and knew that there wouldn't be enough time to do all of that anyway. Just as I was starting to hit a real panic level, a friend of mine I hadn't seen for almost a year pulled into my driveway and honked at me. We started talking a bit about what had been going on, and I told him about the predicament I was in. Without skipping a beat, he hopped out of his truck and walked up to my car to examine the damage.

Upon looking at it, he quickly said, "Do you have a plunger?" I was confused at first, but then ran inside at the prospect. I found the needed item and bolted back outside to where my friend and brother were standing. Before they could say anything, I had pushed the plunger onto the dent and gave it a quick pull. I stood back to admire my work, but nothing had changed. I bent down again and this time got a much more solid hold. I again gave it a quick pull and this time the dented metal popped back into place perfectly. My brother and friend both started laughing at the results. I hopped back and took a look myself. There was no discernable markings at all on the car. The dent was completely gone and my car looked bright and shiny after the wash.

That same car finally sputtered its last breath about 2 years ago. A couple weeks after it was gone, I remembered what had happened and started laughing aloud right in the middle of a meal. I leaned over and told my brother about it and he too shared in the humor. Since the car was gone, we figured that the story was good enough to finally share with our mom. As we had suspected, she had no idea that it had ever happened. A little ingenuity (albeit a bit strange) went a long way in saving my arse on that day.