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Irony is defined as: when the opposite of what you expect to happen occurs. Explain the irony in this cartoon.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.

Cartoon by Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal.


For many years, customers did not pump their own gas at gas stations. “Fill ‘er up” was a common phrase used by people who were getting gas.  In this cartoon, the driver is expected to be saying “Fill ‘er up” to the gas station attendant.  Instead, the opposite occurs: because gas prices have risen so drastically and it costs so much to fill up a gas tank now, the gas station employee is telling the customer to fill up the cash register (with money) for the gas he will buy.

(Gas station attendants would also wash a customer’s front windshield and/or check the oil.  Ask a grandparent what he/she remembers about “service stations” as a teenager.)  Below is a photo of a gas station attendant from the 1950’s.

50's Gas Station Attendant