The Wobbly Customer at the Gas Station

Submitted by Ralph E. Shaffer

Friday, 14 September 2018

About a century ago there was a radical labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW for short. Members were called "Wobblies," since many of their foreign-born had difficulty pronouncing the initials "I W W," making it sound like "I Wobble-U Wobble-U."

My Dad ran a gas station near Los Angeles during the Great Depression, and every car that drove in was appreciated - except one that belonged a certain man, who drove into the station frequently but never bought anything. But he always asked an inane question, put air in his tires, filled his radiator with water, and left.

One day he rolled in and my Dad muttered to his lube man: "Here comes that Wobbly, the IWW guy."

The lube man knew the guy wasn't a radical union man and asked my Dad why he called him a Wobbly.

"He's an IWW through and through. All he wants is Information, Wind and Water."

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