17 Years. 8 Months. 15 Days. 1 Pothole.

I was a Missouri resident for nearly 18-years.

Not a St. Louis or Kansas City resident, mind you. No, I was an actual Missouri resident. Rural. Backwoods. Baldknobbers. Bass fishing. Meth houses. Gravel roads. Dirt driveways.

During that time, I recall owning a total of five vehicles, one trailer, and a prized 1976 orange-speckled Glastron with an 85-horse Johnson. It even came with the original trolling motor featuring a whopping 3-pounds of thrust. My wife loving referred to it as “Sean” because it’s color was identical to James Bond’s GT-150 in the 1974 film “Live and Let Die.”

No need to belabor the fact that Roger Moore played MI6’s top-agent in the movie. To my wife, there’s only one true Bond.

I digress…

During my time on the back-roads of Missouri, by my count, I owned 11 axles. By my mechanic’s count, I’m told its actually 17 – with split differentials and other random shop-talk. Here’s another caveat: They were all pre-owned axles. So all 17 came under ownership with considerable Show Me State mileage.

17-years. 17-axles.

I drove through rivers, over tornado debris, across unpredictable pastures, down exposed bluff-sides, up and down flood ravaged boat ramps – gravel, rock, boulders, mud, sand, ice, a fallen walnut tree at 50mph! I spent nearly every day torturing high-mileage, battle-scarred axles without issue. Then…within 3-weeks of moving to Boston……..

KA-BLAM!

What Missouri couldn’t accomplish in 17-plus years of aggressive axle abuse, Massachusetts achieved with one righteous, perfectly placed…pot hole.

Amazing.

Like a militiaman bayoneted in both calves, life-sustaining grease gushed from my 4Runner’s CV-boots. Exposed wounds deeply infected with dirt, dust, grime and debris from the foxhole, both joints were beyond repair; amputation the only solution.

A gut-wrenching 3-grand later, the high-mileage SUV is now back on the front lines…with two very-low mileage front axles.

Is there a moral to this story? Nope.

But keep in mind…if you’re looking for a way put your mechanic’s kid through college, forget jumping a downed walnut tree at high-speeds – simply shuck and jive through one of Boston’s resurfacing work-zones during rush hour.

Your tuitional philanthropy will be legendary.