Do we need to have people do everything for us?

Published 12:24 am Sunday, January 7, 2018

Once you get a taste of “first-class” anything else is unacceptable. Just ask the good folks living in the state of Oregon.

Some of them allegedly were aghast last week at a new state law that went into effect with the new year.

The nature of the law you ask?

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Legalizing marijuana? No.

Changes in gun laws? Nope.

Raising the legal drinking age? Not even close.

The new state law allowed gas stations in more rural areas of the state to allow patrons to pump their own gas.

The Internet comedy that ensued has entertained thousands and thousands.

If you’ve not traveled the state before, Oregon is (or was) one of only two states in the nation — the other is New Jersey — that prohibits uneducated boobs like you and me from the highly complicated skill of pumping gas into one’s automobile.

The reaction of online commenters was hilarious.

“I don’t even know HOW to pump gas, and I am 62, native Oregonian … I say NO THANKS! I don’t like to smell like gasoline.”

“I’ve lived in this state all my life, and I REFUSE to pump my own gas. I had to do it once in California while visiting my brother and almost died doing it. This (is) a service only qualified people should perform. I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas. …”

Images of gas stations up in flames or cars parked in parking lots with the remnants of a gas pump hose still attached flooded the Internet.

Who knew the millions of us who have successfully pumped gas for decades — most without injury or accident — were putting ourselves at such great risk?

The truth is many of the ridiculous comments were made in jest.

Imagine that, everything you read online is not true. Who would have guessed?

This time it wasn’t the Russians or anyone in the “Deep State” but instead some good-natured folks trying to have a laugh.

By Friday afternoon, one of the most over-the-top commenters had already been reported as having put up the comments as a joke.

The man doesn’t live in Oregon, he lives in Hawaii, but his comment was funny nonetheless.

Other commenters feigned interest in “helping” the good folks from Oregon, offering to setup up gas-pumping schools and training programs.

All and all, the entire thing was funny, if a little mean by poking fun at the people from Oregon, the majority of whom probably have absolutely no problem being able to pump their own gas.

But the entire saga of the gas pumps and the very notion that people would be incensed made me chuckle and think of a few other mundane tasks that someone else should have to do for me, someone who is a trained professional.

For years now, I’ve been our household’s primary garbage hauler, and for the life of me, I do not recall ever having been properly trained in the complications and risks of taking out the trash. We’ll need a trash attendant to come by — preferably capable of being summonsed 24-hours a day.

The same is true for another seemingly innocuous task — cleaning up after our family dog, Suzy. Unlike taking out the garbage, this task involves a tool the likes of which I’ve never been properly trained to use, a shovel. I feel horribly irresponsible even thinking about the amount of stuff I’ve shoveled through the years without a license, badge or certificate.

Of course, like the facetious commenter from Hawaii, I’m kidding.

One of the problems in our world now is that too many of us pay people to do everything for us. In some cases, it’s simply a factor of time-savings or efficiency, but far too many of us don’t know how to pump gas, drive a stick shift, change the oil in a car or do minor household repairs anymore.

We’ve all had good fun laughing at the gas pumping saga, but if we look in the mirror, most of us have at least a few things that we’d prefer someone else handle for us.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or