Axle: (n) a rod or spindle (either fixed or rotating) passing through the center of a wheel or group of wheels.
If I weren’t stupid, I would have no stories to tell. Smart people have a list of accomplishments instead of tales of mayhem.
I was a mere 24 years old and driving along in an airport limousine that looked like it should have been used in a 1940 Clark Gable movie. It had six seats in it, dual air conditioning units, and even had a metal cage in the rear to protect the luggage.
It was the most unpredictable vehicle I have ever driven.
First and foremost, you could not drive over 55 miles per hour because of some sort of “governor” they had placed on the engine.
But I was grateful to have it so that my singing group could travel across the country and annoy people with our increasing prowess.
One night as we were leaving Jacksonville, Florida, we noticed that the back passenger-side wheel was wobbling a bit. These are things a normal adult would be concerned about, but not a 24-year-old vagabond.
To counteract the wobbly wheel, I tried to drive faster. Suddenly I looked in my rear-view mirror and noticed that the back of the limousine was lighting up.
This seemed unusual.
So I pulled over and discovered that the rear of the vehicle was on fire.
I did have enough mechanical understanding to recognize that this fire was very near the gas tank, so I got the members of the group out, and we ran about a hundred yards away and watched it burn.
I thought about doing something brave, like taking off my shirt and beating out the flames, or trying to acquire some water from a nearby ditch to extinguish the blaze–but I didn’t.
We watched it like it was the latest release from Hollywood.
“Hmmm,” I thought. “The axle of my limousine is on fire…”
This was the end of my reasoning.
Fortunately for us, a truck driver arrived with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames as we gradually, but bravely, inched forward.
He was also kind enough to take his “breaker-breaker” radio and get us a tow truck.
The whole back axle was destroyed.
I guess someone felt sorry for us, and the man who worked on the vehicle replaced the whole axle, put on a new tire and only charged us $150. We even found a family to stay with while it was being repaired.
It was a remarkable event.
But still, every time I hear the word “axle,” I have the instinct to run like a little schoolgirl.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix
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