When I was about seven or eight years old, I received a stern warning from my father regarding the gas tank in his car. He told me that I was never to open the cap and put anything into the tank. I hadn’t ever done such a thing or even thought about it, but he was warning me against doing what my good friend did to his mother’s car.
Apparently, one day my friend decided that it would be fun to play gas station attendant. In those days no one pumped their own gas – this was a service provided by people who worked at automobile service stations. To help his mother out, he filled the gas tank of her car. He didn’t have any gasoline, so he decided to use the garden hose to fill it with water. Of course the car started fine when his mother needed to use it, but she never got out of the driveway before the engine quit. He eventually confessed when the cause of the car trouble was found to be water in the tank. That should have been the end of the saga, but it wasn’t.
A little while later my friend apparently planted the idea in the minds of his two younger sisters that they could make a cake by adding sand to the gas tank of their mother’s car. So, they went and got a little bucket of sand from their sand box and began to carefully spoon it into the tank. This time their mother got further down the street before the engine died.
From these events I learned that only gasoline goes in the gas tank. As I got older, I learned there are several types of fluids that are used in automobile engines. You’d better not mix them up, because each fluid has specific qualities for the task it needs to perform.
Recently, my wife and I had a leak in the power steering system of our car and we needed to add more fluid before we could arrange for a repair. We wondered if we could even find the reservoir for the power steering fluid, being quite ignorant about mechanical things. We were pleased to find that when we opened the hood, there were very large words printed on one of the plastic reservoirs that said, “Power Steering Fluid.” The manufacturer wanted to be sure that we didn’t do something stupid like putting windshield washing fluid or something else in that reservoir. They were smart.
I wish that we had signs printed on the skin next to our mouths that said, “Only pure and natural whole foods go here.” That might helped to prevent the current day epidemic of modern illnesses.