Here's some new math we've been doing at our house: 4 flat tires on 3 vehicles in 1 day equals 2 much.

Here's what happened: Jennie's son will be spending the next year in Springfield, so we took a load of furniture over in two cars including the hearse.

If you don't know about the hearse, it's nearly immaterial to this story except that hearses are big, heavy cars with big, heavy tires.

The hearse did fine. We spent the evening with the grandkids, had a nice supper, played with Legos, yadda, yadda, yadda.

It was the trip home that went awry.

Over by Decatur, there's a patch of interstate that reportedly had buckled from the heat. Did anybody have heat-buckling highways on their bingo cards? After a pandemic, race riots and killer bees, I just needed apocalyptic zombies to fill out my square. I didn't count on road buckling. 

We didn't know about the road ’til later. But we saw a police car with its lights flashing up ahead so we started slowing down. The car in front of us shifted over to the passing lane presumably to comply with Scott's Law requiring such action when an emergency vehicle is parked on the right.

Except the squad car wasn't parked on the right. It was on the left. Not the left shoulder; it was parked on the highway in the passing lane-the lane the car in front of us had just moved into.

Seeing the makings of a collision, I steered the hearse onto the shoulder so the car ahead of us would have plenty of room to come back into the right lane and avoid hitting the trooper's car.

Accident averted, we continued toward Decatur. About midway through the city, we started hearing air movement like the backdoor of the hearse wasn't shut tight. 

The whistling of air was soon replaced by the thump, thump, thump of a flat tire.

We pulled off on a side street and changed the tire. Not without a lot of huffing and puffing and occasionally cursing. 

That's flat tire number one for those keeping track.

We got back on the road and chatted about our misfortune like people do. At some point, the comment was made that we hoped there wouldn't be a second flat because we didn't have a second spare.

By the time we got to Atwood, the car started pulling to the right. I thought maybe the steering was out of alignment. But the front right of the car seemed to be dipping lower and lower and a new and distinctly different hissing sound had started. I knew we were going to lose another tire. 

We pulled off the road just as the now-familiar thumping sound returned.

It was not the spare as one might suspect. It was the front right this time.

We were only about three miles from home, but that's too far to limp on a rim. We called for a tow truck.

The truck came and hauled the hearse up onto a flatbed. We rode along to the shop and talked about our misadventure like people do.

The truck pulled behind the shop but didn't see the transmission or axle or whatever it was sticking out in the path. As he passed it, it caught a piece of his tire, which blew out with a loud pop. That's tire number three on your scorecard.

There's often a connection between tragedy and comedy, and since this wasn't life-threateningly tragic, we looked for the humor and had a good laugh about it. Laugh now because it won't be funny when the bill comes in.

The next morning, Jennie went to use the blue car, which her son had driven home passing the same squad car where the hearse tires were compromised. Jennie made it halfway to the grocery store before the fourth flat presented itself. It just didn't seem funny anymore. Ridiculous, yes. Funny, no.

We should have bought stock in a rubber company. We could sell it to pay for all these new tires.

Side note, Jennie was the only person who was in all three vehicles for all four flats. Just sayin'.

© Copyright 2020 by David Porter who can be reached at [email protected]. Why didn't the hearse make it home? Because it was two-tired.