In the late 1990s, Bud Light ran a series of commercials paying tribute to Real Men Of Genius. Conceived by copywriter Bob Winter and art director Mark Gross – and co-created with copywriter Bill Cimino – at DDB Chicago, the hilarious commercials mockingly honored Mr. Humongous Pumpkin Grower Guy, Mr. Pro Football Coach Cord Carrier, Mr. Parking Attendant Flashlight Waver, Mr. Restroom Paper Refiller, Mr. Backyard Bug Zapper Inventor, Mr. Over-Zealous Foul Ball Catcher, Mr. Giant Foam Finger Maker, and many more.
Today, I salute one more Real Man Of Genius: Mr. Breakaway Gas Hose Inventor.
I had spent four days trying to recover from a cold — coughing, headache, sinus infection, the usual. Normally, when I get sick this way at this time of year, I blame it on my hay fever, but the weather in St. Louis hasn’t been very spring-like so far. The cold temperatures and day after day of rain kept my pollen problems at bay, so I hadn’t begun my daily dosage of Aller-Fex. Nope, this was nothing more than a bad cold, so I sucked down the Quils (Day- and Ny-), got some rest, drank plenty of water, and stayed homebound.
Feeling better yesterday, I ventured beyond the perimeter to run a couple of errands and maybe play some poker. I returned a book at the library (Steven Pinker’s brilliant “Enlightenment Now: The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”) and mailed some tax-related forms at the post office. I also needed gas, so I pulled into a nearby service station, ran my credit card through the pump, and began “fueling” (a word you’ll never see anywhere else but in that context). Instead of just standing there, I went inside the convenience store for some comfort food (a Hershey bar). After paying, I returned to my car, got in, and proceeded to drive away.
I was stopped by the loud ka-chunk sound. I immediately knew what I’d done — yanked the gas nozzle and hose right out of the pump. Fortunately, someone invented the mechanism that keeps gasoline from spurting out of the pump when some idiot pulls this move. I got out, shrugged my shoulders at the woman on the other side of the island who looked bemused, picked up the hose and nozzle and went inside to tell the clerk what I’d done. He told me it was no big deal, that it happens more often than you’d think. Then he took the hose, reattached it very easily and quickly to the dispenser, put the nozzle back where it belonged, and asked if I needed a receipt for the gas. When I replied no, he pushed one button on the pump and told me I was okay to go. Phew! No spill, no disaster, no consequences (for the record, the image above is not a photo of my car).
I carefully drove the few miles back to my house and collapsed into a chair in a sweat and feeling woozy, thus proving to myself that I was overdoing it physically and not mentally up to a session of poker — or anything else. Whatever other items I had on my to-do list would have to wait, but at least I didn’t have to add “buy new gas nozzle.”
So here’s to you, Mr. Breakaway Gas Hose Inventor. Have a Bud Light on me. While you do that, I’m gonna have another swig of DayQuil.