I have no idea when someone somewhere decided that there was some kind of safety problem with gas pumps offering a locking clip at the end of the nozzle. You know, the little metal doo-hickey that lets you take your hand off the pump while the car fills with gas, then kicks back to let you know it’s done. I suppose someone somewhere experienced a clip failure. I imagine gas poured onto the ground. I have a hard time believing that the result was a lethal conflagration, but a million monkeys and all that. Perhaps it was the idea of an inferno that led to their ban; the relevant bureaucrat having seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” as a kid. Meanwhile, here in the Ocean State, we have to physically squeeze the trigger on the nozzle until the tank’s full. As fellow SUV owners will attest, that can be a long time. Anyone who doesn’t live in the desert or the Deep South will also tell you that pumping gas in sub-zero weather is painful enough to make an Antarctic explorer nostalgic. Tall people have to stoop. Weak people have to strain. Nervous people have to stand still. All for the lack of a single piece of metal. If we can put a man on the moon (and I know you and I were deeply involved in that venture), why can’t we (and now I’m talking about you rather than me) design a gas pump that doesn’t require so much human effort?
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