I polluted the environment while using a "non-polluting" gasoline storage container.
For me, it is physically impossible to avoid spilling gasoline onto the ground - and also allowing a lot of gasoline vapors to escape into the atmosphere - if I use one of those depress-to-pour nozzles.
So when it came time to use the gasoline in the newest of our three 5-gallon plastic containers, I lifted the can with my arthritic hands, then tilted its 40-pounds-plus of weight, depressed the lever - and sloshed.
I shouted imprecations upon the meddling federal bureaucrats and the elected dolts from Pennsylvania who vote in Congress for more money for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. I also cussed at the smooth-talking empty suit now occupying the White House. He could rein in the feds, but doesn't.
The consumer agency did do a lot of good things.
But after it had already regulated most of the really dangerous stuff out there, it had to keep on regulating, or its employees would lose jobs. It has regulated the bejabers out of the lawnmower business. We had a zero-turn mower equipped with two joystick levers, one for each drive wheel. I had to take it in for repairs three times; the relay/solenoid/torture device that prevents the engine from starting unless the parking brake is engaged would not work properly.
You might say that it is a good thing that the engine cannot start if the parking brake is not engaged.
And you might be correct ... except that, on these mowers, if the levers are in the inboard/steering position, the engine will not start. If the levers are in the outboard/don't steer position, the mower will start, but it cannot move. So it is impossible to start the engine and have the mower immediately move, even if there is no parking brake at all.
The brake relay is superfluous, unneeded. But I spent doggone near $200 in repair bills to get it fixed. I asked to bypass it. "Oh! Can't! We'd be liable! We'd be fined!" I cursed some more.
That mower went to mower heaven. We got a newer zero-turn, equipped with a steering wheel.
This one is faster, cuts better, reduces mowing time and leaves a smoother-looking yard, all important since it takes 8-9 hours to do all our mowing.
But every time I go into reverse, the blades turn off.
Annoying. I like to mow while gently backing along the stone foundation wall of the barn.
But, well, OK. There might be a child within a mile or so of the house.
So allow it to shut off; but why not allow the blade to restart by pushing, then pulling, the power takeoff knob at that point?
But no. The machine must already have moved forward before the blade can be restarted.
News flash! Moving forward with the blade unengaged leaves a clump of unmowed grass. I bought the mower specifically so it will mow all of the grass, not leave unmown clumps. Instead, a machine that costs several thousands of dollars leaves unmown clumps because some dunderhead doesn't understand that I know better than to run backward over my own foot or my grandchild. Some people don't, and they pay a tragic price, so I won't call them fools or stupid. But it is not government's job to protect us from ourselves.
Government insists, however.
So I continued to spill gasoline - until I went retro.
As I said, we have three gasoline containers. One is pre-no-pollution. It has a cap on the end of the spout, keeping fumes from escaping. I love it. I don't spill gasoline when I use it. It does not emit fumes inside the garage because I keep the cap in place.
That wasn't good enough. Some dolts - these people do deserve to be called dolts - lose the cap, then store the gasoline inside a garage or shed, where fumes accumulate and can explode via a spark. News flash! Do not start engines in confined spaces when gasoline fumes are present. For that matter, do not flip a light switch. But government insists on forcing millions of us to pollute in the forlorn hope that five or six of us will not immolate ourselves. The effort is doomed. People that dumb will find other ways to kill themselves.
Throughout the entire nation, we now have gasoline containers that are impossible to use without spilling gasoline, especially by arthritis-impaired folks.
Rubber stoppers, the "eyes" used with small hooks, and string. Cost? Below $2.
I equipped another old-style nozzle this way. No fumes escape except when I uncork it to use it. When I use it, no gasoline is spilled. The gasoline flows freely, allowing me to use both hands to balance the container while it is angled against the mower's gas tank neck. But you can't buy free-flowing nozzles any longer.
Some people say they are going to vote against all incumbents because of the awful deficit spending in Washington, or because of abortion, or because of the lousy economy, or even because of fear of nuclear war.
I'm voting against incumbents until I can mow while my mower is in reverse, and until I can be trusted to pour gasoline without having to possess the manual dexterity of a juggler.
Denny Bonavita is the editor and publisher of McLean Publishing Co. in west-central Pennsylvania, including the Courier-Express in DuBois.