Brother, can you spare a few gallons?

September 05, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD

THIS IS THE time of year when friends and neighbors try to foist their extra tomatoes and zucchini on you, at which point you're supposed to get all weepy with gratitude and gush about how wonderful the stuff looks, how delicious it'll probably taste, etc.

Well, I'm not playing that game this time.

Look, you really want to do me a favor?

Don't give me your extra vegetables, OK?

Give me your extra gasoline.

First of all, I don't need any more tomatoes or zucchini. I'm up to my ears in that stuff.

But think how nice it would be to have someone knock on your door and say: "Hi, we had some Sunoco regular unleaded lying around and thought you might like it for your car."

Oh, you bet I would!

Boy, if you did something like that, I would really, really be grateful.

I'd invite you in for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie and we'd sit and talk for hours.

You could watch TV, take a shower, use the washing machine and dryer, do anything you want.

You could even take a nap if you were tired.

Upstairs in my bed, too.

Yep, I think we'd really get to be great friends.

In fact, if you brought along, say, 40 bucks worth of Sunoco regular unleaded, we'd probably get to be best friends.

Here's another thing: You can pretty much count on me being home when you come over with the Sunoco regular unleaded, too. Because with the price of gas now, I can't afford to go out.

So the car mostly stays in the driveway.

And it'll continue to stay in the driveway unless some nice friends and neighbors start dropping by with some of their extra gas.

Which really isn't that much to ask, when you think about it.

So get off that whole tomatoes-and-zucchini kick when it comes to being neighborly, people.

Let's think outside the box this year.

Think instead: Gee, isn't there someone I know who'd appreciate an extra 10 gallons of gas?

While I'm thinking about it, this concept could apply to the workplace, too.

I don't know how it is where you work. But where I work, people are always bringing in stuff to share.

Every day, it seems, there's a gang e-mail that reads: "Fresh bagels and cream cheese in the usual place" or "Doughnuts, courtesy of Mike, over by the file cabinet."

Which is all fine and dandy.

I'm not saying it isn't.

But with regular unleaded heading up to $20 a gallon or whatever, think how cool it would be to get an e-mail that reads: "Large red gas cans filled with Exxon unleaded on Susan's desk. Help yourself!"

You don't think that would help morale?

Are you kidding?

Morale would soar.

Workers would be giddy with anticipation each morning when they sat down at their desks.

Wonder who's bringing in gas today? Maybe it's Lori. She brought in some great Mobil last time. ..."

Productivity would shoot through the roof.

Believe me, you won't get that kind of psychological boost in the workplace with a box of Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins near the copier.

Oh, I realize all this isn't going to happen overnight.

I realize old habits die hard, and that the tomatoes-and-zucchini crowd is set in its ways, along with the bagels-and-doughnuts drones at work. All I'm saying is: Even with generous impulses, sometimes you have to push the envelope.

Garden vegetables, bagels, doughnuts -- sure, they're still nice to get.

I guess.

But the price of a fill-up at your local gas station is going through the stratosphere.

You want to see someone's face light up, you know what to do.

A few gallons of gas in a tasteful container, maybe with a nice ribbon around it -- that's giving from the heart.

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