Recycling the Seventies

It’s eight o’clock at night and I arrive at the dog park with Buster, my joint custody pooch. Frustrated because he’s been cooped up in an air conditioned house all day, my dog selects a Chihuahua for destruction and begins expending his pent up energy by trying to flip him over.

“Take him out, Buster,” I yell encouragingly.

“Don’t take that shit, Taco,” the owner of the Chihuahua says. “Get him.”

Buster sticks his head underneath Taco’s low slung body and unsuccessfully tries tossing him in the air – but to no avail. The Chihuahua’s center of gravity is too low.

Albert, Taco’s owner, snorts happily. “Taco’s like a wrestler,” he says. “Compact and low to the ground. Buster’ll never take him.”

“But he’ll knock himself out trying,” I reply. “And that’s a beautiful thing.”

“That’s true. They’ll both sleep tonight.”

Albert and I quietly watch the canine pair wrestle. As the Buster emits his tiny barks and growls, I find it hard to believe that he’s descended from wolves.

“So your book out yet?” Albert asks.

“Next week,” I reply.

“You excited?”

“Excited, happy, and a little scared.”

“You’ll be fine.”

‘Thanks Al.”

“Anything else going on besides the book?”

“Yeah,” I reply. “Now that you mention it, I think someone’s stealing gas out of my car.”

“Uh oh”

“I threw $30 bucks in my tank on Saturday but by Monday morning I was running on fumes.”

“You do any driving?” Albert asks.

“I think I drove 50 miles in two days,” I reply.

“Someone siphoned out your tank.”

“I think you’re right.”

“It could’ve been worse,” Albert says. “Some thieves are drilling holes into gas tanks.”

“I heard about that when I was in Texas,” I say. “Makes gas siphoning look almost benign.”

“I remember a guy siphoning gas out of my father’s car when I was a kid in the Seventies,” Albert says. “You remember that shit?”

“I remember,” I say. “You could only get five bucks worth of gas. There were long lines. You could only get gas on Tuesday if your license ended in an even number. It was crazy.”

“Oh yeah,” Albert says. “I forgot about the odd and even thing.”

“They got rid of daylight savings time too, remember?”

“Sure,’ Albert says. “We’d go to school in pitch black darkness.”

“Ah yes, the good old days.”

“So what are you going to do about your gas thief?” Albert asks.

“I was thinking about hiding in the bushes and surprising him with a Zippo lighter.”

“It’d serve the bastard right.”

“Yeah,” I reply. “But the neighbors would probably complain about the smell.”


“So I just settled for calling the cops,” I continue. “I’ll pick up a gas cap with a lock tomorrow.”

“Your gas tank doesn’t lock?”

“No,” I say. “Lots of new cars don’t have tanks that lock.”

“But they had locks for the longest time,” Albert says.

“The locks were introduced because people were stealing gas back in the Seventies,” I say. “Then, when gas was cheap again, there was little theft and the car makers decided to save money by trimming back that option.”

“I’ll bet they make locked gas tanks mandatory again.”


Taco and Buster stop their little grudge match. After they both grab a drink of water, the dogs start happily start licking each others rear ends.

“There’s nothing new, is there?” Albert asks. “Stealing gas, OPEC, high prices. It’s like the Seventies are being recycled.”

“Yep,” I reply. “First the kids started wearing bell bottoms, growing their hair long, and sporting mutton chop side burns. But when Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow started to become cool again? Oil shocks and economic collapse were sure to follow.”

“I just hope disco doesn’t come back,” Albert says.

“You and me both.”

67 thoughts on “Recycling the Seventies”

  1. Livi says:

    geese the whole petrol thing is a bitch, but what can you do? ha i didnt think of stealing it off neighbours i didnt like xD jokes

  2. marco says:

    gas is too much..

  3. brandon says:

    Great stuff, waiter.

    And PLEASE PLEASE add Ann Arbor, MI (Borders?) to your book-signing tour.


  4. Teresa says:

    And that sweet city woman,

    She moves through the light,

    Controlling my mind and my soul.

    When you reach out for me

    Yeah, and the feelin’ is bright,

    Then I get night fever, night fever.

    We know how to do it.

    Gimme that night fever, night fever.

    We know how to show it.

  5. Misty Massey says:

    Disco? No!!!!!!

    *presses hands over ears and runs for the safety of her Rage Against the Machine playlist*

  6. mykl says:

    amazon just emailed me. my book FINALLY shipped. i CANNOT WAIT.

    who names their dog Taco? i LOVE IT

  7. Yi says:

    Amazon sent me an e-mail and the book is being SHIPPED!!! I’M SO HAPPY!!! I can’t wait to get my hands on it! as for your blog, keep up the great work you’re doing…Thank you for keeping us all entertained!

  8. The Waitress says:

    Reading this sort of makes me glad I live in a rural area where people haven’t yet resorted to stealing each other’s gas.

    Long lines on the other hand, I know all too well. A new gas station has opened up in my little town and is offering its gas at $3.61 a gallon, causing massive traffic backups along a two-lane road near my home. The more sensible folks seem to have realized that its better to pay six cents more per gallon at the station down the street than to burn five bucks worth of gas waiting in line for forty minutes.

  9. Booply says:

    The only band I’ve loved that sounded sorta like disco for quite a few of their tracks is Kool & the Gang, and Tower of Power had a few tracks as well that were disco’esque. Anyway, thought I’d just mention that for no reason.

  10. Jeff Lichtman says:

    They didn’t eliminate daylight saving time in the 70s – they extended it. With DST people have their lights on one hour less each evening, so they added a few weeks to DST during the energy crisis. The problem was that by shifting the time so daylight lasted an hour later into the evening they also made it start an hour later in the morning. During the summer this isn’t much of a problem because the days are so long that the sun is up in the morning regardless. But when the days get short it’s impossible to have sunlight both when you leave home in the morning and when you return in the evening. That’s why kids were going to school in the dark.

  11. ShaolinTiger says:

    Bring back the Disco!


  12. Snark Scribe says:

    I heard about the odd and even thing from my dad, but I didn’t know about the daylight savings time.

  13. Danicus says:

    I wasn’t around for the seventies gas shortage…. but i can see the similarities from what my parents described. dark times…

  14. dan-E says:

    miami beach is one of those contradictory places where petty thieves will break your windows just to steal you spare change and nothing else, siphoning or drilling your gas tanks is too much work for these people.

    good thing i don’t own a car any more. looking forward to you book, waiter.

  15. FLG says:

    Dang. I haven’t heard of anybody siphoning gas over here (NZ), but people are stealing licence plates to put over their own to steal gas from the gas stations.

  16. Marcia says:

    as of 1992 gas can no longer be syphoned out of the tanks. There is now a “bulb” in the tank, that dosent allow for it to come back out. A saftey feature if you will. If you only put 30 bucks in thats like 10 gallons.. maybe less? were you driving horribly or something? 50 miles in a high traffic area will eat you up dude.. man.

  17. starrrie says:

    They’re bringing back Disco on “So You Think You Can Dance”!

    Does this mean that our next President will be A Carter clone?

  18. Carter says:

    Does that mean that in a few years we will get to do the 80’s again? I’m looking forward to the return of glam rock, maybe Bowie will have a comeback thats not just him in magician movies.

  19. Dawn says:

    Gosh, gas prices in Germany are currently ca. $ 9,50 per Gallon, I wish we had it as good as you guys.
    But we have those car-free Sundays again, where people essentially are encouraged to use public transportation or a bicycle and leave their cars at home. I remember that back from the early 70s, it was weird to cycle down the Autobahn.

    Still, disco is a no-go.

  20. Doug says:

    Didn’t you see Hellboy II? Barry Manilow is back baby!

    BTW…If you get a locking gascap then the theives will definetely drill your tank, which will cost a whole lot more to fix than just replacing the gas.

  21. Amy says:

    Seventies recycled…I thought the same thing. So why, when the gas shortage ended, did no one realize that something should be done? Why was it, “Glad that’s over” and not “Let’s make sure that never happens again?” What were we thinking as a country?

    Can’t wait for the book! No worries…it’ll be great and well-received!

  22. admin says:

    Dear Marcia:

    I’m afraid gas is still being siphoned.


    I do believe, however, that there is
    ‘bulb” you can drop into your tank that will thwart siphoners.

  23. Jessie says:

    In KC those douchebag criminals don’t try to steal your gas; they just throw a firecracker in your car and hope it burns.

  24. N says:

    Read your interview on
    Keep up the good work!

  25. Tovie says:

    Not only are they siphoning gas, they’re cutting catalytic converters off cars too. Four in the last month in the carpool lot I park in, not me yet but they got one of the ladies I ride with.

  26. Bob Dobbs says:

    Thanks for the post. Very nice.

    Yes, the 70s are back. They were a time of dislocation; we lost cheap oil, and a lot of discomfort and rearranging of chairs followed, with too much money ending up in the wrong pockets.

    Now we’re losing cheap money, and the discomfort and rearranging may dwarf what happened in the 70s.

  27. Zayrina says:

    Hey waitress, they are stealing the farmer’s gas out in the rural parts, plus they steal their anhydrous ammonia to make meth.

    I remember when disco was soooo cooool. Now we dis it.

  28. Deb says:

    Hey don’t knock Disco…even those people that say they hate it, still know all the words (and probably sing along when no one else is looking…..heehee

  29. bethanythemartian says:

    Disco’s coming back, and you know what that means.

    The BeeGees.

    Hey, maybe we can skip disco and go straight into glam rock again.

  30. DiamondDaveeO says:

    Disco LIVES, and the Waiter RULES! Yeah BABY!

  31. K says:

    I need to buy a locking gas cap too.
    Good luck with your book release! I’ll be buying it for sure!

  32. take it to the man says:

    Crazy thieves almost as bad as restaurant owners stealing tips from their employees…A new trend I have seen is rest. owners subtracting the credit card transaction fee from the waiter’s tips… I don’t know how the greedy owners get away with it but more and more owners are following suit.

  33. Barmaid Blog says:

    Sorry, but Barry Manilow has NOT become cool again. 🙂


  34. amanaplanacanalpanama says:

    Waitress, I don’t know what kind of of rural area you’re talking about, but just last week some a-hole stole $300 worth of diesel from my dad’s tractors and farm truck. This was so far out in the country that the landowner can’t even get rural water (they refuse to run 10+ miles of pipe just to give him water). We’re pretty sure it was the scum (lots of prior experience) who drive the big rigs out to the natural gas wells, but there’s no proof as to which ones.

  35. Andi says:

    I feel lucky to have an 07 Corolla, that doesn’t even hold enough gas to be worth drilling or siphoned (its like, a 9 gallon tank), and that you have to open the cover-thingie with a lever inside the car. Now all I have to worry about is someone wanting to steal the car 🙂

  36. Brett L. says:

    Great post. Good luck with the book release, I’m definitely going to get a copy (and recommend it to my friends).

  37. MelC says:

    aww geeze…i get to relive the seventies beyond takin my mom to Mama Mia? say it aint SOOOO…that being said, and having grown up listening to them…the BeeGee’s arent that bad!…of course, i havent been listening for thirty years, at least not until november *lol*

  38. Michelle S. says:

    I’m paying 4.19 a gallon for gas. When you’re used to paying 3 dollars a gallon, a dollar more is a big pain in the pocket book. Besides that, the cost of electricity has gone up 30 percent on top of it, so yeah, there’s definitely an extra chunk of our income going to gas and utilities. Not fun.

  39. Angela says:

    I think disco’s been back.

  40. Dave T. says:

    A lot of new cars have anti siphon devices in the filler neck tube, but not all. I took the locking cap off of my suv. I would much rather pay for more gas then for a new tank. One of the guys at work got hit. They cut the rubber line for the filler tube below the anti siphon device and siphoned it out that way. At least he got off cheap and only had to replace a rubber hose.

  41. amyinbc says:

    My beloved Jeep has a locked tank. Good thing as it has been broken into 2x in the past 6 mos. Hate to think they were stealing my frigging gas too. Sigh. Bastards.

  42. austin_waiter says:

    I actually like this post better than most of your waiting entries. Been reading since the beginning, and it’s nice to see you moving on. Congratulations.

  43. T says:

    i wish my area had better public transportation.

  44. Anonymous says:

    You know what other prevalent liquid is $4.00 a gallon? Milk. Why isn’t anyone siphoning cows?

  45. ray says:

    Your blog reminded me of the best “disco” slam I have ever heard….

    “Disco is to music what Etch-A-Sketch is to Art”


  46. sadianne says:

    I remember the gas rationing and the time we had no daylight savings time. It was very dark going to school. I remember gas wars before the gas rationing.

    I don’t think Barry Manilow was ever cool in the first place, was he? 🙂

    Dogs sniffing each other behinds – it’s strangely reassuring that some things never change.

  47. Dr. Electro says:

    I don’t remember the Daylight Saving Time thing. That could be because I spent most of the Seventies in Viet Nam and the Phillipines.

    I do remember the gas rationing and the Nixon speed limit. Hot buildings because Nixon ordered all thermostats set to 84 degrees.

    Movie theaters didn’t comply. They kept their dark caverns as cold as a well bottom. I caught a head cold and sore throat while watching Star Wars.

    I had a 35-mile commute every day. I drove a ’68 Firebird 400 High Output. Most definitely NOT an economy car! I couldn’t go anywhere unless somebody else drove.

  48. Gordonjcp says:

    A few months ago I found that someone had syphoned a bit less than quarter of a tank from my ’88 Citroen CX when it was parked up in storage. Good luck to them – it neither needs nor has a catalytic converter, so it’s not fussy about fuel. It had also been parked up for about a year. They’ve just pulled out four gallons of very, very dirty and stale aviation fuel. Well, it saved me the trouble of draining it.

    Ever heard the term “false economy”? I hope they see the funny side when they’ve got holes through their pistons and a destroyed catastrophic converter.

  49. House6 says:

    My friend was one who had 4 holes drilled her gas tank in Austin. She’s a sweet girl, if someone had asked for the gas she would have bought them a tank. Instead they stole it, won’t be arrested, and she’s stuck with the $1000 to replace her tank on her ancient car. It drives me bananas!

  50. Gordonjcp says:

    At the risk of going offtopic, $1000 seems a bit excessive to replace a petrol tank. They’re usually only held on by a couple of bolts and a big metal strap, and take minutes to fit and remove.

    I’ve just had the tank off of one of my cars to replace split fuel hoses, and it took half an hour working in my driveway. Your friend should find a better mechanic – do *not* go to a main dealer!

  51. Jo says:

    I think the success of Mamma Mia! is a sign of the return of disco…

  52. Amanda says:

    Sorry to break it to ya, Waiter, but Techno House music has been popular for a while now..and it’s essentially remixed disco, for the most Too late!

  53. barb says:

    Great post waiter, can’t wait for the book, haven’t ordered off Amazon, going to try to get it from a local independant bookstore, failing that, from Barnes & Noble whom I frequent much too often just to read, they deserve some business from me.
    An aside, I took a couple friends to eat yesterday, to a funky downtown cafe, they split a breadfast entree, so our bill was just under $20.00 but I tipped $5.00 because of the split entree, before reading you I wouldn’t have thought of tipping a bit more for a split entree, but it is more work for the waiter. It made me feel good to do the right thing by the waiter. I still hardly ever go out, but I want to get it right if I do.
    Another aside, gas in Anchorage, Ak where I live is $4.44-$4.45. We have a pipeline up here but it’s still more expensive!

  54. Willa says:

    Ay, Chihhuahua!

    Waiter, I hope you visit our Borders here (Thousand Oaks) or Barnes&Noble (Westlake Village). It would be cool to meet you.

  55. Kris says:

    Be careful when buying a locking cap. Most of them don’t work very well. Test it by pushing it and turning like you would a childproof pill bottle. Most of them will come right off.

  56. Gordonjcp says:

    I’m surprised that cars in the US don’t have locking fuel caps. Most European and Japanese cars have either a locking cap or (more commonly) the little flap that covers the cap is locked with the central locking system.

  57. Tucatz says:

    It would actually be rather funny if someone siphoned out of my tank to fill their car- I have a diesel. Good luck running your gasoline powered car on that shit, buddy.

    Disco has been back for a while, sadly. I’m just glad that earth-toned everything has stayed buried where it belongs, and that avocado is no longer a color to even be considered for a kitchen.

  58. Jessica says:

    Oh, boohoo.

    “Dark times”? For crying out loud, Americans are the most spoiled, selfish ingrates who ever existed. Let’s take a moment to think about what it is like to have to scavenge for food and not own a second house, yacht, or even a second pair of clothing.

    Being poor doesn’t justify stealing. Being rich doesn’t justify being a whiny bastard.

  59. Gordonjcp says:

    I’m just glad that earth-toned everything has stayed buried where it belongs

    Not an Ubuntu user, are you?

  60. Sherbondy says:

    Minor error:

    ‘Thanks Al.”

    A single quote snuck into your dialogue somehow.

  61. Rebecca says:

    People still bash disco? I thought complaining about emo was the new way to prove you’re a rocker who rocks out.

  62. bill says:

    “During the 1973 oil embargo by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in an effort to conserve fuel Congress enacted a trial period of year-round DST (P.L. 93-182), beginning January 6, 1974, and ending April 27, 1975.” /Not 20 percent, maybe 21 percent.

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  64. seshmarls says:

    Post Authentic disco the new dance music

  65. MoreAndAgain says:

    First of all, disco is the shizzle dizzle!lol. I LOVE Donna Summers and the BeeGees.

    And. . .

    “‘Oil shocks and economic collapse were sure to follow.’”

    Yeah, that was prophetic.

  66. Jack London says:

    “Some thieves are drilling holes into gas tanks.”

    That happened to me! It was expensive to repair, but the duct tape held long enough for me to save up the cash.

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