Guest Columns

RIFFS & RANTS WITH THY WILL BE DONE’S J. COSTA

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Look! It’s another awesome MetalSucks guest column! When he’s not busy working as the vocalist for Thy Will Be Done or being metal’s foremost Christopher Walken impersonator, J. Costa will be writing about whatever the heck he wants for us. Please join us in welcoming him to the Mansion.

Hope everyone is well. We’re back out on the road again and, as usual, I’m always painfully reminded that I’m “not trusted” to pump my own fuel in two of our nation’s states: New Jersey and Oregon. But, since the event that sparked this particular blog has its roots in Oregon, I’m choosing to single that state out for making me suffer the backhanded compliment and discourtesy of being treated like an absolute ignoramus every time I need to fuel up the van there.

For those of you who don’t know, it is illegal to pump your own fuel in Oregon. Their “no self-serve” law was passed in 1951, and should have been repealed long ago. While there are “reasons” as to why this law is still in force, anyone with some common sense understands that it is a “make-work” law forcing gas station owners to hire the barely-employable and/or those who are just starting out in the work force. These “qualified attendants,” as far as Oregon’s lawmakers are concerned, keep us imbecile-citizens from harming ourselves, others, and our planet.

Some quick background: in 1951, when the Oregon legislature made it illegal to pump gasoline into one’s own automobile, it was believed that foolish individuals would mishandle gasoline and cause severe accidents – at least that’s the story Oregon legislators fed to the public back then. I’m sure in 2010, it has become clear that this fear was misplaced, as people the world over have managed to fuel up their own vehicles without incinerating themselves or their autos. In spite of overwhelming evidence to a one-in-a-billion accident occurring, Oregon’s state officials continue to back the self-serve ban for baseless reasons (below) that reveal their intellectual prowess:

  • Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality supports the ban on self-service gasoline due to inexperienced pumpers being a significant source of groundwater and air pollution.
  • Oregon’s state fire Marshall supports the ban on self-service gasoline due to the possibility of having one incinerate himself, his car, and/or others.
  • Law enforcement officials support the law as it prevents gasoline thefts, called “drive-offs.”
  • In states besides Oregon and New Jersey (which also has a no self-serve law), many gas station owners ignore the requirements outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as they do not provide a full-service option for disabled drivers, nor provide those services at self-service rates. Hence, disabled drivers in Oregon benefit from the self-serve ban.

Why hasn’t “driving” been banned in Oregon? Just think of it – more people are killed each year in automobile accidents than in self-service gas station mishaps where poor Molly and her new puppy are engulfed in a fiery blaze, leaving Dad standing there holding a 24 ounce Slushy in one hand and the fuel nozzle in the other. When a vehicle crashes, it may leak fuel and pollute the ground water. And what about exhaust emissions with all that driving around and spreading of greenhouse gases? And law enforcement officials are worried about “theft? ” Bupkes! What about that Stanley McSmellsbad guy wearing the Full Devil Jacket tee that told me at the merch table he NEVER buys music or movies because he “gets them at the flea market” from “da guyz wit da tablez?”

You may ask what got me started on this rant. During one of our recent stops at a gas station in Oregon, the “qualified attendant” was a bit overwhelmed by the fact that ONE vehicle arrived seeking to purchase fuel: ours. This emaciated attendant with a stoic look upon his face, along with the rest of the hallmarks that a “possible meth addict” would have, approached my window. His disposition was that of one of the “Children of The Corn” as he attempted to speak to another life form at 3AM. Now, I may seem harsh, but, here’s my deal: in his hasty and FAILED attempt to “clean my windshield,” this shlemiel managed to loosen both of my wiper blades, unbeknownst to me at the time. This may not sound like a big deal, but it was.

Just thirty minutes down the road and up a mountain, we encountered a snow storm (yes, a snow storm in May). Obviously, I needed to turn the wipers on, and as serendipity would have it, we were approaching a rather steep decline down the mountain (6% grade for you hill enthusiasts), which OF COURSE happened right where a work zone narrowed the roadway to ONE lane. At this point my driver’s side wiper is flipped around, there are 18-wheelers ahead of us descending the mountain and there’s another one coming up fast behind us and I can’t see out of my windshield because I wasn’t “trusted” to be “responsible” enough to get out of my vehicle and pump my fuel. Instead, Johnny Follow The Law, who’s yes, doing his job, thinks he’s also “qualified” to clean a windshield and loosened both wiper blades in the process.

Now, I do all of the driving in the band (yes, yes, please send all of your “control-freak intervention” emails), and there are times when we stop to re-fuel where maybe I want to go inside and purchase a beverage or snack, or I’m just tired and need to get out and stretch. I’m sorry, but I feel like an idiot getting out to just “stretch” and stand right next to “this guy” who’s “qualified” to pump MY gas while I’m stretching. I shouldn’t feel the need to have to monitor him, right? He’s got to be just as qualified to clean a windshield, right? Wrong, dead wrong.

Fortunately, we made it down the mountain unscathed. But let this serve as a warning to those of you traveling through Oregon (or even Jersey). Don’t trust the “qualified” attendant to clean your windshield! Their state doesn’t trust us to pump the gas! That simple. Problem, brought about by an imbecilic Oregon law, solved. Or maybe not. I’m going to stop typing this while driving with a bagel and a fresh cup of gas station joe and checking someone’s Facebook status.

Peace,

J.

Thy Will Be Done are currently pumping their own gas without incident all across the U.S. Visit their MySpace page for the latest tour dates.

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