After reading Paul’s story about the Olds 88, and the gasoline bath he suffered when refueling one, I got to thinking about my own history of ingesting gasoline. When I was growing up in the 1960s, for some strange reason my father felt that I needed to know how to siphon gasoline out of the family car. This was so that I could fill up the 1 gallon gas can we used to keep the lawn mower going. I can still remember his showing me how to suck on the end of a plastic tube that was inserted into the filler neck of the family cars gas tank. (A 1965 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser.) My father’s name for a siphon hose was an “Oklahoma Credit Card.”
For those readers who have never had the joy of siphoning gasoline I will just say that if you did it right you got a lung full of gas fumes. If you did it wrong you got the fumes plus a mouth full of gas. What an awful feeling that was.
Gas doesn’t have a taste as such, but it sure has an terrible mouth feel. Oily, flammable, and it used to contain lead just to make things totally disgusting. I still remember spitting and spitting and still having the gas residue in my mouth for another half an hour or so. Way back when I think I only had to engage in this bit of automotive fun a dozen times or so, but the memory sure has stayed with me all these years. And I have not siphoned gas since those bad old days. I should also mention that back in the old days before cars got complicated it was very easy to snake a siphon hose into a auto gas tank. Now I imagine it is a bit harder to do on a modern car; or not?
While I am on the subject of stupid things to do with gasoline I should probably also mention the time back in 1976 when I was in Aircraft Mechanic school. A few of my classmates and I were repairing a Cessna 150 at the local airport, and after we were done we found ourselves with greasy hands, and the nearest place to clean up was quite a ways away. So I just reached down under the belly of the plane and squirted some av-gas onto my hands to clean off the grease. And av-gas has even more lead in it than auto gas did back then. When I think about some of the things I did back then I just shake my head and thank my stars that I did not do anything stupid and fatal. Just stupid was enough.
All of which leads me to ask you, the readers of Curbside Classic if any of you have ever done anything to cause you a maximum about of distress when it comes to gasoline. Have you ever take a gas bath like Paul did when he was working at that gas station? Did you ever end up with a mouth full of gas when you were siphoning out a gallon from the family station wagon? Let us know, and we can all shake our heads at the folly of youth. In this case the youth that was us.