Space Shuttle convenience

How bad does it suck for you to fill up the toys with gas? Does that hurt or what?

As if it's not bad enough gas costs way over 3 bucks a gallon, many of the pay-at-the-pump places will only let you run $50 or $75 at one swipe of the credit card.

What do the geeks who program these pumps drive? Geo Metros? Do they walk to work, or do they carry their lunch?

As you can tell, the ridiculously low limit on the credit card is something that really cheeses me off to no end. A $50 limit on diesel at $3.50 per gallon will get you a whopping 14 gallons.

(Hey, pump programmer geek, my Chevy 3500 has a 34-gallon tank.)

What, I gotta swipe the freakin' card 3 times to fill it up?

That's if, and a very big IF, your programming handiwork will let me swipe it twice. The cheese factor is very high on this subject.

Even at $75 a swipe, it's still a two-swipe process. Ridiculous.

Had a little issue down in Florida at the pumps today. Involved a two-swipe, $75 limit, Cooter Brown, and a rocket scientist moonlighting at the convenience store behind the counter.

It started off when I pulled the rig in to get some diesel for the Chevy and some gas for the BassCat. Ran through the first $75 (a whopping 20.8 gallons of diesel), then topped it off with another 6 gallons.

I pull up a bit and I'm walking back to the 'Cat to drop another Benjamin in its tank when the biggest redneck in Florida (his words, not mine) pulls up in his hopped up 4-wheel drive. Dude is drunk as Cooter Brown, hanging out the window (luckily he's in the back seat and not driving), and screaming at the top of his lungs "That's the purtiest boat I done seen in my whole friggin' life".

I swipe my card in the pay-at-the-pump as dude rolls, literally, out of the truck and staggers my way. Smoking. A cigarette. At the gas pumps. Real smart guy.

"Realtree. Wow, you in the tree-trimming business, maaannn?" Swear on my best box of square-bills, he asked me that.


"Please See Cashier", the pump display tells me.

"Maaaaannnn, you are one bad [expletives deleted], you know that? What's your name, maaaannn?"

Sweet. A drunk and a retard.

"My name? Gerald Swindle." Dude's got his hands on my name on the side of the boat. Seriously, his hands are ON my name.

(Stevie Wonder could even see 'Kevin Short' in black and white on top of the pink.)

I swipe the card again. Maybe I can use the Force to make it work.

The convenient pump LCD still says "Please See Cashier".

And Cooter Brown is still a drunk and retard.

"I've seen you on TV, maaaannnn. Can I get your autograph?"

Dude, I would like nothing better in the world than to give you my autograph. Nothing except maybe getting this damn pump to work.

Dude follows me to the truck for an autograph card and a keychain. I don't think he could see the name on the card to tell that I was really Kevin Short and not Gerald Swindle (not that he had ever heard of either one of us).

Dude heads back to his truck yelling "I got his card, I got his card!"

I head in to see the Space Shuttle cashier.

Wait in line. Wait in line. Wait in line. Exactly where's the convenience here?

Finally, I hand her my card "Turn on pump number one, please" and start to walk back outside to pump my gas.

"Wait just a minute ... I don't want to be responsible for your card."

Hell, I didn't want to walk inside and wait in line — yet here I am.

She swipes my card, punches in some numbers, and a receipt prints out. "Please sign this", handing me the receipt.

"What's this for?" I ask.

"$10 on pump number one."


"$10? Have you done the math on that? That's like, three gallons. What could I possibly do with three gallons? I asked you to turn on pump number one. $10 is just pissing me off."

"Well, you'll have to pump the $10, and then come back inside and I'll turn it on." That's some space training logic right there.

"That's what he wanted you to do in the first place", the lady behind me in line said.

(THANK YOU, lady behind me in line.)

I walk out to pump my $10.

Cooter Brown falls out of his truck. "Hey, hey, maaannnn, I need another card."

What, you spill your brew all over that one?

"My buds girlfriend wanted that one. You got another one, maannnn? I'm one redneck sumbitch, you know that?"

Uh, yeah. Picked up on that little clue.

Signed another autograph card for Cooter. Pumped my $10 in 87 octane unleaded; all 3.14 gallons of it. Hopped in the 3500 and rolled out of the Space Shuttle Engineer Convenience Store. Won't bother going back there, either.

You just can't guard against stupid.

For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his Web site at www.kfshort.com.