If you ever stop for gas at a self-serve station (and about 99 percent of us do), you have to feel sorry for the guy whose picture is emblazoned on most of the pumps here in Virginia.
He's wearing a state police uniform, complete with Smoky the Bear hat, and he's staring grimly out at us and saying: "Drive off without paying, and it may be the last time you drive!"
Or something like that. (I don't have a gas pump in front of me at the moment).
Really, the gas pump officer is just trying to do us a favor. He's reminding us that while it might seem like a prudent cost-saving measure to avoid spending that $40 to fill your tank (after all, all oil companies are pirates), such a rash act may wind up costing you your drivers' license -- after you are run down by a high-speed chase and TASERED and pepper-sprayed to within an inch of your life.
Of course, if you lost your license, you wouldn't need to buy any more gas, so maybe it's a tradeoff.
At any rate, though, people seem to hate the guy on the gas pump. I've started keeping track, and the last 10 times I've stopped for gas, I've noticed that his face has been either been obliterated with magic marker, slashed to ribbons with a pen knife, or studded with wads of used gum.
The poor guy. Whether he's a real state trooper or just a model who donned a uniform for the advertisement, he's probably on a psychiatrist's couch by now.
In a way, I know how he feels. My newspaper once decided to put my picture on the sides of newspaper racks, but that experiment was short-lived. Somebody shot one of them.