wife and son were with me in the car and I was somewhat distraught,
to say the least. We were on our way home from visiting my dad in a
Johnstown hospital and the outlook for him was not good.
pulled into a local Sheetz store on Route 56 in the East Hills
section of the city to purchase some gas and waited patiently in
line, but I allowed enough room for the driver of the car in front of
me to maneuver and pull out when he was finished pumping. I was
facing him, but I needed to use that left lane in which he was parked
because of the location of my car’s gas cap.
as that customer pulled out, a short, dumpy, middle-aged man, with
his wife in the passenger seat, pulled into my preferred slot – the
slot I was waiting to open up, well before the George Costanza
look-alike made his Mario Andretti move. I might add that the driver
wore thick eye glasses just like George Costanza and did not look
anything like the threatening type.
the same time, another vehicle pulled into the right lane beside us,
just as the left lane for which I’d been waiting was taken by
Costanza. As the driver in the right lane exited his car, my wife
and son noticed him immediately. But they had no idea that
Constanza was the one to whom I was about to blast verbally.
blew up! With my window down, I screamed at the culprit, calling him
every name I could think of. Not only was I in a horrid mood, I felt
safe because, even with my recent back-to-back, open-heart surgeries;
I thought I could take this chump down.
must not have heard me well the first time, so he put his driver’s
side window down, and I let him have it again. This time there were
some four-letter words associated with my tirade. I showed him, big
As I was blasting Costanza
with more bad language than I care to admit, my wife and son took
more careful notice of the man who had gotten out of the car in that
right lane. He was a huge man, dressed in Army fatigues, combat
boots, and wearing a beret. Built like a taller version of Carl
Weathers from the Rocky and Predator movies, he no
doubt was a member of some kind of special armed forces unit. The
camo attire did nothing to hide his muscular build. He was cut like
a “V”, with a physique like few others.
So, back in our car, my wife
and son sat speechless, wondering if I’d completely lost my senses
as I continued to hurl insults out my window. My son, in his
mid-twenties at the time, later told me he thought he would have to
get out of the car and take a punch for his old man. They both
believed I was hurling those insults toward the Carl Weathers (Apollo
saga continues I exited the car to go in and
prepay for the gas, all the while still jawing aloud at Constanza,
who continued to sit in his car, staring straight ahead. To say he
was shook up would be a very mild way to describe the look on his
I just so happened to
accompany Carl, the military man, who was also heading in to prepay
for his gas, as we both walked toward the doors of the Sheetz
store-front. He had apparently witnessed my frustration with the
driver who’d taken my spot in line, and turned to me and made a
comment like, “Doesn’t that tick you off when people pull into
your slot like that?” I agreed, and told him I appreciated his
I also happened to notice that
Constanza waited till I reached the store doors before he got out of
his car and started pumping his gas. Luckily for him, he must have
had a credit card and wasn’t required to pay first inside.
In the meantime, my son and
wife thought I was continuing to pick a fight with the man in the
special services. They saw the two of us talking as we walked and my
wife uttered, “I’ve never seen your dad this upset.”
My son agreed. He could not
understand why I was still arguing with this man wearing the beret.
The special forces guy could have easily squeezed my head like a
pimple or knocked me out with one punch just like Apollo Creed did in
the movies. Both my wife and son were oblivious to Costanza, who was
now nervously pumping his gas into his car.
well that ends well
Eventually, my left lane
opened and I was able to maneuver our car close to my desired gas
pump so I could commence pumping gas. Costanza pulled out without
incident. And it was then, finally, that my two passengers realized
who I had been blasting with my offensive language. They got a kick
out of the fact that it was Constanza, and not Carl or Creed, the
At about the same time, they
both realized too, where the gas cap was located on our car. Never
mind that they both had driven the same car numerous times before and
had purchased gasoline many times, too.
Instead, their worries had
centered on me trying to pick a fight with Carl Weathers, and the
potential conclusion of having to make funeral arrangements for me.
Today, I still appreciate the
re-runs of Seinfeld and enjoy watching Rocky and
Predator over and over again. I’m forever grateful too,
that I didn’t have to take on Apollo Creed that day because it
would have been a miss-match to say the least. Costanza? That might
have been a different story.