My father had always said that his old Pontiac could only be filled with Shell gasoline because any other brand of gas would cause an obnoxious monosyllabic 'Ding!' sound as it slathered around in his gas tank. I had figured all those advertisements that make the presumption that a car's gasoline needs could actually be limited for some reason to one specific brand were just a bunch of hoo-hah.

I also attributed my father's assertions that his car could only be given Shell gasoline to his being easily swayed by such hoo-hah. Anyway, I borrowed the rusty old thing to drive cross country with Davey. I nodded systematically when my dad insisted, for the zillionth time, that we be sure to fill it only with Shell or be tormented by the unavoidable ding that would follow.

Sometimes when you are in the middle of nowhere and out of gas, you can't be too picky about where you frantically fill 'er up. To be honest, we weren't even thinking about my father's earnest instruction. We hastily and carelessly pumped our chariot full of Ed's Gas 'N' Grub's golden elixir and reentered the freeway without a second thought.

Within a half hour, somewhere in the middle of a joint and enjoyable head-bobbin to I Got Next, we started to notice a persistent, high-pitched and very un-KRS-One-like 'ding' interrupting our flow. It was none other than the ding my father had warned us about and we were forced to endure it for hours. It certainly ruled hip-hop out of the question, but we soon realized that its lack of rhythm made any choice of music unbearable. We attempted conversation but were constantly interrupted by the ding. We laughed about it but could only do so for so long. Instead we sat in near silence, our highs in ruin, with nothing but the country air and persistent ding piercing our souls.

The morals of this story are twofold:
1. It actually is possible that some old engines work their best with a specific brand of gasoline, and, in my experience, Shell is the brand of choice. and,
2. Sometimes the predictable and seemingly petty drone of advice emitted by our fathers is occasionally worth adhering to.

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