Thursday, August 28, 2008

Isn't "Chuckle" a funny word? Makes me wanna...

I think when most people think of gas stations, their blood pressure rises and they instantly feel crabby. Why not? With the cost of gas around $4.00 a gallon, I agree that this is a pretty normal response.

But when I think of gas stations I actually usually chuckle. And why you may ask? Well, here are a few reasons.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1960s we had a gas station about ½ block away from our house. To get to it though, you had to cross a pretty busy (well, I guess busy is a relative term) street called Broadway . It was a Union Station—Spirit of ’76 with a big ball as its logo. One of my little brothers LOVED the old pop machine there. More specifically, he loved the icy cold soda pop.

So one day, Mr. Genius managed to purloin a quarter from the dresser in my parents’ bedroom. He was probably around 4 at the time. He gleefully headed down toward the gas station but stopped short when he got to Broadway because he was not allowed to cross the street alone. But his little buddy Pete who lived on that corner (who was the same age I might add) told my brother he would go across the street, buy the bottle of pop and bring it back.

Pete bought the bottle of pop alright, but stood there, across the street from my very distressed little brother and drank the whole thing. As I recall, because of his thievery there wasn’t much he could do in the way of “telling” on Pete. That was chuckle number one.

Humorous memory number two occurred in 1976. That same gas station gave out hundreds, maybe thousands of little “Spirit of ‘76” radio antenna balls to celebrate the bicentennial. (Get it? 76?) Anyway, this was of course back when most cars had those antennas that shot straight up. The idea was that if you put one on your car, you’d easily spot it when you’d look out in crowded parking lot. I must have been with my sisters who could already drive because I remember affixing the little ball to our car before we went up to our local shopping center. A few hours later when we came out I had to laugh. At least 75% of the cars now in that lot had those “Spirit of ’76” balls on their antennas. For some reason I felt sort of stupid. And as I recall, we couldn’t find our car right away.

The third story about gas stations that made me laugh was once when I was in Peace Corps a group of doctors came down to Guatemala from Michigan. I got to know the team over the week they were there and one of the anesthesiologists told me that that he was always annoyed when at parties etc…people would ask what he did. When they learned he was a doctor they almost always pressed him for medical advice or wanted to show him their body parts. So he came up with this idea to say he worked at a “gas station”. It was true. All day long he’d administer gas to people. He loved that once he started using this answer people seemed patently uninterested in conversing with him any longer. I thought this was brilliant and still smile when I think about it.

So, that’s all I got for today. Next time you go “fill ‘er up”, try and look at the bright side. There’s usually one out there somewhere. Ciao! -Monica

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