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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Hi, Gas Pumper!

I went to the gas station this afternoon for a fill-up and saw something there I’ve never seen before. A guy was at the opposite pump, filling his tank and absolutely elated to be doing it. He was downright giddy, grinning like an Exxon tiger and giggling to himself while the fuel flowed freely into his funky Ford Festiva.

(The color? Fuchsia.

Nah, not really. But that would have been cool. Insofar as ‘Ford Festiva’ and ‘cool’ can be mentioned with a straight face within six sentences of each other.)

“He was downright giddy, grinning like an Exxon tiger and giggling to himself while the fuel flowed freely into his funky Ford Festiva.”

At any rate, the guy seemed to be enjoying himself greatly. I can’t say why — he was just about to climb into a Ford Festiva, for one thing — but I suppose he had his reasons. Maybe it was his first car, or he’s Amish and had never seen a gas station before. Or he’d just set a record-best for miles per gallon, or possibly those ‘Festivas’ really live up to their name.

(Yeah. Unlikely.)

Perhaps he was simply pleased as unleaded punch that gas prices have dropped back to a level that doesn’t require a second mortgage or signing over your first-born child to refill your ride. Don’t know.

What I do know is that he was filling his tank both greedily and lustily, and that’s not something I’ve ever witnessed in the past.

Oh, sure, I’m familiar with greed, and with lust. Those are right up there with sloth and gluttony on my list of favorite deadly sins. And I see people doing things ‘greedily and lustily’ all the time. Eating, for instance. There’s a McDonald’s in the food court near my office. You’d think some of the people ordering there were just rescued from a desert island and dropped into line, desperate and starving. Some guys tear through the bag to get at their two all-meatlike-substance patties before the cashier even hands back their change. The staff might as well just set up a firehose full of French fries behind the counter and spray hot taters directly down customers’ gullets.

(That’d save on a helluva lot of packaging, too. You want to be ‘green’, fast food joints? Buy one used firehose and a reusable funnel. Also, you might need a tarp. You’re welcome.)

I even remember the first time I saw a woman doing something ‘greedily and lustily’. At least, I think that’s what she was doing. I’m not entirely sure it was even a woman. I was watching the Playboy channel as a kid when my parents were out, and our old cable company scrambled the signal so you couldn’t really tell what the hell was going on. From all the moaning going on, I think she was enjoying herself — but with the screen split in the middle and all the weird colors and distortion, who can say for sure? She might have just had a tummy ache, or was humming her favorite song. Badly.

On the good side, I did get a glimpse of what I was pretty well convinced was a nipple. At the time, that was plenty enough ‘greed’ and ‘lust’ for me. Even if the thing was colored orange and stretched halfway across the screen by the scrambler. Come to think of it, maybe it was a basketball. Or a frisbee. Who knows?

Anyway, those are the sorts of situations in which I’m comfortable with the ‘greedily and lustily’ qualifier. A guy at the next gas pump on a cold night in January simply doesn’t qualify. Come to think of it, anything involving ‘a guy’ and any sort of ‘pump’ is well out of my comfort zone. And I still don’t know what the hell this gas-pumping goon was so damned happy about.

But when he was done, he let out a thrilled little squeal, replaced the nozzle, hopped in his shitbox and drove away. Whether he was ‘greedy’ or ‘lusty’ — or both — behind the wheel, I can’t say. I was still filling my own tank. And wondering what the hell kind of ‘additives’ they’re putting in the petroleum products these days. I’m all for feeling good about my refueling trips, but I’m not sure ‘laughing gas’ would be such a good idea.

On the other hand, I didn’t feel giddy at all after topping my tank, so that’s probably not it. It’s probably just one guy, a little unstable and in love with OPEC. Or something. Just to be safe, I think I’ll avoid getting near any Ford Festivas for the rest of my life.

Which means I don’t have to change a thing. Sweet.

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