Some years back, I owned an International Harvester utility vehicle (the missing link to the SUV) that I used for my bird seed delivery business. A thumping sound from the shaft let me know that the universal joint was soon to fail. At a local junk yard, I spotted a likely prospect for a transplant. But, someone had already removed the wheels. With the vehicle flat on the ground, there was no way for me to get underneath to remove the shaft.
I asked an employee at the junkyard to lift up the wreck with the yard’s high-low.
“No can do. The high-low got stuck in the dirt yesterday.”
I looked down at the ground of the junkyard. Generations of oil and broken glass had mixed with the earth to form a solid asphalt-like surface. Plus, the temperature had been freezing for weeks — actually around zero some nights. I stamped my foot.
“Jose, this ground’s hard as a rock. How’d the wheels of the high-low ever sink in?”
“Here, follow me and see for yourself.”
I went with Jose along a maze-like path through the stacks of junk cars. Soon we found the high-low, teetering over to one side.
“I can’t figure it. Day after day I go by here no problem. Now look what happened this morning.”
A neat six foot by two foot section of ground had given way and dropped down maybe a foot. Two wheels of the high-low were hanging over this little precipice, unable to gain traction.
Jose continued to explain, “I wait for the boss. When he gets back, he can tell me what he wants to do now.”
“Jose, don’t show this to anybody else. Hoffa might be down there!”