And Then One Day, There Were None — A Classic Oil Can

A classic Quaker State metal oil can

I ran across this bit of former everyday-ness at the waste oil disposal tank at my local dump transfer station last weekend.  It stood out among the various plastic jugs and containers that littered that area.  I haven’t seen one of these things outside of a museum in years.  And here it was just sitting around in what is more or less its natural environment. Perhaps the last time I will ever see and hold something like this. Somehow, a relic from the past had been deposited for me to find.

Well, probably not just for me to find, but I’d be willing to bet that I may be the only person who happened upon the item and then set it up for a photo shoot.

This particular can of Quaker State was unopened.  No doubt left over from someone’s long ago oil change where they wound up buying one more quart than necessary.  And then who knows what happened?  Did they get rid of the car?  Did they only find oil in plastic the next time they went to do an oil change, so they bought that…and this poor can got shuffled onto the back of the shelf until…”Grandpa had so much crap in the garage!  What did he think we were going to do with that??”

I thought for a moment – as I do about many many things I find at the dump – that I’d bring it home and put it on my shelf.  Only, I’d make that a shelf in my office or living room because I actually like having stuff like this around.  Then, I thought…Hummmmmm…this is unopened.  Maybe I could just use it.  Oil shouldn’t exactly go bad. It’s already like 350 million years old, right?

But then I noticed that there were no markings that I could see that indicated the grade inside the can.  If it were single weight oil or something over 40W, then I couldn’t use it.  And anyway, other than in the 47 year old Volvo, I no longer use dino oil in any of my cars.  This is clearly dino oil.

In the end, I decided to just take some pictures and to leave the can to ultimately be emptied into the big waste oil tank and to be finally recycled.  This seemed like the responsible thing to do; both environmentally and also personally.  Future progeny – should there ever be any – will be saved a (hopefully) long off in the future conversation that starts with “Grandpa had SO MUCH CRAP….”

Well, at least about this particular Quaker State can.

Lord knows, if I had saved it, those un-named future generations wouldn’t be tempted to use it due to the fact that they may not know what “oil” is and likely will have no vehicle that they’d be tempted to pour it into.  And even if they did, there’s a good chance they’d not know how to get it out of the can.  Or know that little trick about punching an additional hole in the can with a screw driver (a WHAT?) to allow for a smoother pour.

Fortunately, maybe they’ll still know what YouTube is and can figure it out that way.