We live in a fractious time, but after performing the “non-spill” fuel nozzle bit live again the other night I was reminded as folks roared along that never have I written a piece that has more effectively united all “aspects” of my audience.
The simple phone video version above is from the “Little Writing Room Above the Garage” series recorded during the early days of the dang pandemic. Below is the relevant text (from my book Montaigne in Barn Boots):
[Before “non-spill” nozzles,] here’s how you formerly filled your fuel tank:
1. Remove cap from nozzle.
2. Pour fuel into tank.
Here’s how it goes with a “non-spill” nozzle:
1. Grunting like a Russian kettlebell instructor, hoist full fuel container to a point higher than the tank and then invert it, as it will not pour until . . .
2. downward pressure is applied against a spring-loaded valve, which will not occur until. . .
3. the full weight of the full container is directed against a plastic tab the size of a gopher tooth, which happens only after . . .
4. the tab catches on the lip of the fuel tank and . . .
5. you simultaneously twist an enigmatically unresponsive plastic locking device (also spring-loaded), while . . .
6. fine-tuning the angle of the approach by thrusting your pelvis at the fuel can in the manner of a spasmodic pole dancer because your hands are both occupied, but . . .
7. it’s OK because finally the fuel is flowing—no, wait, it’s not OK because . . .
8. the gopher tooth just gave way, the nozzle plunged into the fuel tank, the weight of the full can snapped the nozzle at its base, and now there’s raw fuel running everywhere.
excerpted from “Montaigne in Barn Boots,” c. 2017 by Michael Perry (HarperCollins)
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