Today’s topic is the Corvette. On a recent vacation to Tennessee, we took at side trip north to Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of the National Corvette Museum. The museum opened in 1994 to celebrate the Corvette and educate the public about a very expensive car. Corvettes are beautiful, powerful machines, invented around 1953 by Harley Earl. Mr. Earl is not to be confused with Zora Arkus-Duntov, a Belgian engineer who perfected the Corvette’s motor. And Mr. Zora is not to be confused with Zoltar, a fortune-telling machine in the movie “Big.” Or with Zorba the Greek, who is a character from a 1964 movie. To my knowledge, neither Zoltar nor Zorba ever drove a Corvette or swallowed one.

 What, pray tell, could swallow a Corvette?

“I could,” said the Earth. More specifically, a sinkhole can swallow a car. One sinkhole in Kentucky swallowed not one but eight Corvettes.  

In February 2014, at about 5 a.m., the staff of the Corvette Museum woke to the news that their workplace was built in an unfortunate location.

A sinkhole is a depression in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer. Ordinary sinkholes swallow convenience stores, houses, fire hydrants, trees, squirrels, and IRS offices if they happen to be there. Of course, I don’t want any IRS employees to be injured, but if it would give me more time to do my taxes, I could live with a sinkhole swallowing an IRS office at 5 a.m. when it’s empty. If a sinkhole could metaphysically swallow the IRS in its entirety, that would be fine too. Any objections? I thought not.

The sinkhole in Kentucky was no ordinary geological disaster. Please pardon my language, folks, but there’s no other way to say this. A sinkhole that swallowed eight Corvettes? That’s one badass sinkhole.

This one was thirty feet deep. Some of the Corvettes landed on top of each other. One rested nose down after it executed a swan dive. Five of the cars were severely damaged and beyond repair. You can see these mangled machines in the museum. General Motors restored three of the damaged cars – a 2009 ZR-1 Blue Devil prototype, a 1992 white convertible, and a 1962 model. As if to prove its durability, the Blue Devil was driven off the museum floor after it was extricated.

Today the museum has an exhibit about the sinkhole and the damaged vehicles. Interest in the museum skyrocketed after the 2014 incident. This is an interesting business model. Want publicity? Build your business over a sinkhole. I recommend you trigger the cave-in before or after business hours so no humans get hurt. How do you arrange for the sinkhole to cave in at your desired time? I don’t know. Maybe contact Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. She’s into violence and earth-moving, so I bet she’d be game. You may have to make a sacrifice to Pele first. Throw a goat into a Hawaiian volcano. I don’t want any goats to die unnecessarily, so find a goat that’s already dead. On the other hand, Pele may prefer live goats, I don’t know. What do I look like, a volcanologist? You’ll have to do your own research on this one.

Now, you may ask, what can you do to avoid a sinkhole? Here’s a little more information.

Sinkholes are caused by the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks. They can be ten to hundreds of meters in diameter and depth. “Groundwater can dissolve carbonate cement holding sandstone particles together and then carry away the lax particles.” I have no idea what that means. I copied it from Wikipedia. Bottom line, sinkholes are formed by water and changes in rocks, so you’ll be safe if you stay away from water and rocks. I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved because water and rocks are rare in my area.

So, again, how do we avoid sinkholes? I recommend praying to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess. One way or another, you’ll have to get a goat to Hawaii. I suggest you take the goat on the flight with you as a comfort animal. But maybe a dead goat is preferable because they’re quiet. You’ll have to keep the body on ice because dead goats stink, even at 30,000 feet in a 757. Just place the ice and the goat in a cooler and wedge it into the overhead compartment. I mean, have you seen the bags people cram into overhead compartments? If other passengers can stuff nearly-full-size suitcases up there, you can use the space for a dead-goat-in-a-cooler. A smallish goat. In a smallish cooler. No big deal.

After you arrive in Hawaii, trek up the volcano on the Big Island and chunk your dead goat into the crater. Say a few words of thanks to Pele.

Once you’re back in North America, visit the Corvette Museum. People who own Corvettes tend to show up there, so you’ll see more ‘Vettes in the parking lot than you usually find at, say, Wal-Mart or your local church. That is, unless your church worships Pele, in which case, I suspect there are a higher number of Corvettes parked in the lot. And a higher number of dead goats in the trunks. All on ice, I hope, because you don’t want to stink up your little red Corvette.

Come to think of it, if it gets me a luxury sports car, I might pray to Pele.

If you’re driving your Corvette in a rural area and see a goat in the road, and you happen to, um, accidentally hit it, give me a call. I’m willing to pick up road kill and fly to Hawaii if I get a Corvette.

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