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The Brontosaurus and the Sentimental Fuel

by Ted Johnson

I’ve been meaning to get a photo of this brontosaurus statue ever since I first saw it appear in front of our local Sinclair station. (Yes, I know that kids these days are learning to call it an Apatosaurus, but it will always be Brontosaurus to me.)

Sinclair Dinosaur

Pay no attention to the prices, sentimental fool.

It’s been a few months, but this is not in a part of town I tend to go by bike very often. Yesterday I was on foot with a luxury of time.

I would have climbed on its back and posed with it, but my only companion at the time was a dog.

I’m very sentimental about Sinclair gas stations. They bring back memories of summer road trips with my father and my sister. We went all over the western US, including a memorable trip to Utah when I was nine years old. We drove from Denver all the way to Arches National Park, passing through¬†Dinosaur National Monument, where I got to talk to a real paleontologist working in the quarry. After that, there was no choice for us but Sinclair whenever we filled up the car for the remainder of the trip and for long after.

For years I had a stolen collection of waxy molded dinosaurs from a Sinclair Dinoland Mold-A-Rama, totems to these childhood memories. In 2008, I finally returned these coveted items to their rightful owner: my sister.

My sentimentality for Sinclair is not rational. Even as I tried to reduce my consumption of gasoline, I defaulted to Sinclair whenever I had the choice. I still do.

This is called brand loyalty, and Sinclair has me right where they want me–except when I’m on a bike.

Just a few years ago, I tried to find which gas stations I could patronize in order to boycott Saudi oil. For a moment during my research, it seemed as if Sinclair might actually be the one. As I dug deeper, I realized that was just wishful thinking.

Yesterday, while I was worshiping this idol of the petroleum religion, I had an epiphany. I realized what little I was doing to create positive bike-related memories for the kids in my life.

In fact, both of my stepchildren have managed to lose their bikes within the last several months. My parenting-book response has been to make them both take responsibility for replacing the bikes.

Bikes don’t grow on trees, Young Lady!

And reality is that they are getting along just fine without bikes. They tend to get car rides wherever they need to go, or they just don’t go anywhere.

Reflecting on this brontosaurus helped me to resolve the dilemma.¬† Cheap, junked, fixer-upper bikes practically do grow on trees. I’m going to acquire a couple of used bikes and fix them up.

And then we’re going to make some memories that don’t result in brand loyalty to an oil company.

 
Burley nomad 269

5 Responses to “The Brontosaurus and the Sentimental Fuel”

  1. Janice in GA says:

    I understand the sentiment. When I was little, the Sinclair stations had a promo once where you could get a green inflatable dinosaur. I wanted one So. BAD. But my parents wouldn’t shell out the $$ to get me one.

  2. Dan says:

    I also wax nostalgic for Sinclair stations. When I was a young boy, my dad was an operator, and then an analyzer technician, for a Sinclair plant in Channelview, Texas before ARCO bought the plant. Every once in a while he would bring me some cool swag from the plant. My favorite was a brontosaurus bank that I lost somewhere over the years. When ARCO took the reins, Sinclair stations disappeared from Texas. I enjoy traveling in the West and filling up at Sinclair stations whenever I get the chance. Thanks for the article.

  3. ADam says:

    I don’t want to be a troll, but I just caught the bit about boycotting Saudi Oil.

    American oil companies love to play the scary Arab card to drive up perceived scarcity and thus prices, but in truth where in the ground the oil lies is fairly immaterial. Even if you bought $100 worth of “Saudi” gasoline, they would receive less than $5. All the money is in refinement, industrial processing, transportation and distribution – all completely controlled by American and European companies.

    Just saying the deception the oil companies have us under is deep. They’ve been paying politicians and public figures to say “foreign oil” for a long time so that every time the price at the pump goes up people just think “well it makes sense” Boycott oil, no matter where it comes from.

    just for starters:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Oil#Monopoly_charges_and_anti-trust_litigation

    • Ted Johnson says:

      That wasn’t too troll-ish. Thanks.

      I definitely realize that there are many hands in the processing and distribution chain between the well and the pump. Still, I’d rather that none of my money go to Saudi Arabia. Ideally, I’d rather that none of my money go to oil industry at all. I’d love for the warm fuzzies that I feel for Sinclair existed only in my head. Since I have no rational or ethical reason to pick one gas station over another, I might as well go for an irrational reason.

  4. Jack says:

    The oil is the dinosaur. Oh, the irony.

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