How Much We Don’t Know as Baby Boomers

We baby boomers know what we know, and after all these years, that’s a lot. What we don’t know is how much we don’t know. Exhibit A? Humor writer Steve Meador, who has just discovered yet another tidbit of useful information that he didn’t know. How he went all this time without finding out … is beyond him!

So, Mr. Know It All has learned that he does not know it all after all, which will come as a surprise to some and result in “I told you so!” from others. Many, many others. Now I am going to share my contrition. I am going to share what I learned, because even though us Baby Boomers are likely the smartest generation ever, most of you may not know about it either.

Steve Meador

Steve Meador

I have been driving a loaner car from a dealership, while my Avalanche is out of service getting warranty work. The work has stretched out for over two weeks though, and is starting to aggravate me. But that is a different story to be written.

For years I have driven vehicles that have the gas filler tube on the driver’s side. I like it that I can pull up to a gas pump on the vehicle’s left and be right 100% of the time, without even thinking about it. HOWEVER, the filler for the loaner, a Malibu, is on the right, which is the wrong side. This has resulted in me pulling up to the gas pump along the wrong side of the vehicle 100% of the time. Okay, call me a slow learner, but it is even more aggravating than not having my own vehicle back in timely fashion (or fixed correctly the first time).

So, I pull into a gas station today (not a brand that is the nationalized gas of a government that hates this country— but that is a different story to be written too) and get out, only to find I am on the wrong side. Again. But all the other lanes are full, so I back the vehicle in at an angle to the pump I’d chosen to allow the hose to reach the passenger side. Being aggravated, I jerk my credit card in the pump’s credit card reader and, as I lift the handle, a voice from the next lane says, “Do you know how you can remember which side your gas cap is on?” Obviously the woman behind the voice does not know who she is offering advice to.

I take a deep breath and swallow my pride.

“How’s that?”

The woman says she is retired from a company that manufactures instrument panels and gauges and that every vehicle has a small arrow on the gas gauge pointing to which side of the car the filler tube is on.

“Take a look.”

I do, and darn if she isn’t right! I have been driving since June of 1970 (actually winter of 1968, but we only count legal age stuff) and never knew that. I had to be told by the little filly in the next lane. Well, she is more like the old gray mare, one that has probably been well-ridden, but yet again, that is a whole different story to be written. I’m sure she thought of me as an old gelding, in from the pasture for the day.

We both stride into the mart to buy something and we nicker a bit along the way. She pays for her items, nods her head and hoofs it out to the car as she begins nubbing on a whole grain muffin with molasses. I buy an unsweetened ice tea and, because I am feeling lucky from my newfound knowledge, plop out a buck for a PowerBall ticket. The old mare may have taught me about the arrow, but she is no Lady Luck. Not one of the numbers on the ticket matches the numbers drawn. But, if I drive until I am 100, I will never again pull up to the wrong side of a gas pump. I will have less aggravation in my life. I can rightfully reclaim my title as Mr. Know It All.

Finally, I have a tidbit that I can always share with others at concerts, parties, the pool, the grocery store, the glue factory, or wherever there might be a gathering of the herd. That is, if the herd hangs around to hear it. For me, that’s kind of like having my horse place first.

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  1. Steve,
    I am laughing at myself as I read your article. I thought I was the only one who didn’t know about the gas gauge arrow. To make matters worse, it was my 28-year old daughter who pointed it out to me as she asked, “How long have you been driving?” The sad part is, I now find myself checking the arrow when I pull up to the pump in a car I’ve driven for 5 years. Oh well, at least no one but me knows I checked. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. That’s pretty funny. I didn’t know it either. I’ve written thousands of articles on consumer tips for newspapers and blogs, but I never heard of that one.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

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