February 02, 2011
Pain At The Gas Pump
My wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, is one of the smartest people I know.
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Hand her a microphone, point a television camera at her, and she is a whiz.
For many years, she was one of the few news anchors on television who didn't just read the news off a teleprompter, but actually knew what she was talking about.
Today she is one of the founders of one of the fastest-growing fashion websites in the world, First Comes Fashion.
Last year over 220,000 people from 126 countries watched all the great designer shows during Fashion Week, with insightful commentary by Judy, live on her website.
This year's shows start on Thursday, February 10, and for a front row seat all you have to do is go to firstcomesfashion.com.
That said, no one in their right mind will let Judy near the technical side of her own site. Her best friend and partner, Nancy Hodin, does that. Judy can barely send an e-mail and I have, at least a hundred times, had to show her how to cut and paste, and our little dog Shlomo has a better chance of adding an attachment to an e-mail than she does.
Put anything mechanical in her hand and er . . . er . . . er . . . how can I say this without offending her? I guess the kindest thing I can say is that when you put anything mechanical into her hand she turns into a clueless moron.
Judy doesn't watch television at night until I get home, not because she is not interested, but because she does not know how to turn on the television set. To her, manual dexterity is the name of a Mexican boy. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that Judy's klutziness with anything mechanical was indeed dangerous and costly.
I was unaware that Judy's mechanical shortcomings extended to her inability to fill the gas tank.
I didn't find out that Judy was gas tank-challenged until we were driving out to the Hamptons a few years ago. I realized that we needed some gasoline and stopped in Manorville at the Mobil Station To The Stars.
"What are you doing?" Judy asked.
"Getting gas," I said, in that kind of patient-husband voice that kept me from saying, "What the hell would I be doing in front of a gas tank if I wasn't getting gas?"
"Oh, great," Judy said. "Let me show you how I can do it. I've been taking lessons."
"You've been taking lessons in pumping gas?"
"Yes, Jessie (our daughter) gave me a lesson the other day."
With that, she jumped out of the car.
"Judy, let me do it."
"Oh, no – I know exactly what to do. Now where do you put the credit card?"
"Right here. Er, no, Judy, you're putting it in upside down!"
"Now, I take one of these," Judy said, pointing to the three pumps.
"Any one of them?"
"No, Judy, pick the pump on the right. No, no, Judy you unscrew the gas cap as though it was a jar. You're making it tighter."
Then Judy said, "OK, OK, now I know what to do. Why isn't it working?"
"Because you forgot to lift up the handle where the gas hose was resting."
"Oh," Judy said. "I always forget that. But why isn't the dollar thig-a-ma-jig thing moving?"
"Because, Judy," I said, showing the patience of a saint, "you must squeeze the handle or the gasoline won't come out."
"Oh, yes," Judy said. "I forgot that part."
Now the gas was flowing and the numbers were moving up astronomically as they seem to do every time you fill your tank these days.
Then it was up to $59 and I said, "OK, Judy, it's filled – you don't want it to overflow. Take out the hose now."
Judy said, "I told you I can do it. It's easy!"
"Judy, take out the hose now!"
"Oh, sure," said Judy, and still squeezing the handle, she pulled the still-flowing hose from the gas tank and swung it around and splashed my shorts and legs and shoes.
It was like one of those old Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy movies, when one of them has an out-of-control hose in his hand, a hose that is splashing everything around him.
The difference was Judy was squeezing the handle and the gasoline was splashing me.
"JUDY! LET GO! LET GO!" I screamed as the gasoline splashed on my legs and I swear it felt like a gallon of gas (at $3.73 a gallon) went into my shoes.
"JUDY! LET GO!" I screamed again. Now she was splashing herself and me with the gasoline that was coming out in full force. "JUDY! LET GO!" Naturally, she let go and the hose fell into the puddle of gas that was on the ground.
"Oh," she said. "I didn't know it still comes out when you take it out of the gas tank."
Judy's pants were soaked with gasoline and my shoes were so filled that I squished when I walked. I got into the car and the smell of gasoline was overpowering. "What's that smell?" asked our son, J.T., when we got into the car.
"Oh, I spilled a little gasoline," said Judy, in the understatement of the year. "It's a good thing we don't smoke. We would have gone up in flames."
"Yes, it's a good thing," I said, listening to my shoes squishing as I stepped on the accelerator. The thought, mixed with the gasoline fumes, made me giggle.
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