Have you ever seen one of these before? I don’t even need to ask if you’ve ever used one, because if you have it has already triggered the same visceral response you get when you realize your license is about to expire and you’ll have to go camp out at the DMV.
The first time you used one is still a vivid memory, because the intense frustration it causes sears it into your brain almost as vividly as the first time you see the beautiful woman you would eventually marry.
It’s called an “Auto Shutoff” and it’s a new kind of gas can safety device. I suppose it technically is, because the safest thing you can do with gas is, well…NOTHING! It’s best that you just leave it in the can. There’s no danger at all, if you don’t pour out a single drop. If you do manage to figure it out though, I hope you are wearing galoshes, because you’re about to pour it all over the frickin’ place.
Well, here is how my “first time” went:
I went down to the barn recently to…you guessed it: get some gas. I needed to mix up a gallon of fuel for the Weed Eater for the last “weed eating” of the year. I would say that, in total, we have about 16 different gas cans in the barn, ranging from practically antique to still red and shiny.
I noticed that one of them looked really new, but it had some crazy contraption built around the nozzle. I steered clear of that one, and started checking the other 15 to see which ones still had gas in them. I shook my head back and forth as I rattled the last gas can and didn’t even hear a minute splash. I really didn’t want to drive to the gas station for a single gallon of gas, so I was pretty pleased when I picked up the odd can and it was still full. (Now I know why.)
I took the nozzle (with no “safety features” at all on it, thank you very much) off of the one gallon and poured in the mix. Next, I looked over at ole’ red. “It looks like you press this down”, I thought. So I pressed a little lever down and it stayed. “Nice!”
I picked it up and started to pour. Nothin’!
I set it down and took a closer look at this new-fangled device that was obviously intended to keep me from somehow hurting myself. “Ahhh, I see!” It has a twisty part too. I didn’t notice that the first time. So, I made sure the lever was pressed down, then I twisted the green part and let go. It springs right back.
“I’m gettin’ this.” (These short phrases are my internal dialogue during this process. I edit out all of the expletives, though. Don’t worry.)
I see that I have to twist the green thing, pick up the 28 pound gas can, pour the gas, and try to make it into the other can all at the same time. I can assure you that at no point in the process did I think to myself, “Man, this sure is safe!”
I began the aforementioned task that requires a level of multi-tasking I rarely undertake and….not a drop.
“Well, for Pete’s sake!” (See, I told you.)
The next attempt, I was somehow pressing down the lever while twisting the green thing, as I am lifting, tilting, aiming and pour…nope! “What the…!”
I set it back down and tried for at least 5 more minutes to dream up some magical combination of twisting, pressing and pouring that would give me access to the necessary liquid. I never managed to get a single drop of fuel out through that wonderful safety nozzle. And you know what? I’m not the least bit ashamed. I’d like to see you try it.
At this point I was quite frustrated (so there won’t be any more internal dialogue quoted). I set the can down and simply took the entire nozzle with its magical frickin’ safety device off and poured straight out of that can into the other one. Did I spill some? Uh-huh. A good bit more than I would have if I had an “un-safe” nozzle? You betcha. But I got my mixed fuel made and went to do some weed eatin’.
What’s the moral of the story? There isn’t one. But I can tell you this: If I am ever president, (and it could happen) the first day I am in office, I am going to outlaw those safety devices in our country. I will then collect them, ship them overseas and replace all of our enemies’ gas cans with those dastardly safety cans, then sit back and relax.
I am convinced that those safety nozzles alone will so obstruct the day-to-day operations of any nation as to eventually result in its economic collapse. I think they have a better chance of increasing safety that way than any other.