If you’ve read any of Memoirs of a Gas Station, you’re almost certainly familiar with Jim, the worldly, strapping young lad that was the catalyst for – and my de facto guide during – the trip to Alaska. Jim is one of my best pals and, in all honesty, a damn saint for allowing me to write and publish so many (mostly subjective) good-natured but incendiary quips about him. He is a man of many talents, and I’d like to share one with you below.

Now, I may have mentioned in the book that we from time to time skirted our gas station responsibilities and/or played mind games with customers in an effort to maintain sanity. This is probably an example of that. On an especially boring afternoon, Jim decided that he would answer all customer questions while juggling oranges – an activity that he obviously mastered.


The question was about a shuttle service in the canyon; one we received an average of 37 times per day, and thus were robotically conditioned to answer. This could be why he made it look so easy. At the end, you can hear me applaud Jim’s work, then sulk back to the menial reality of the job and “ring up” the next customer. At least we had those 19 seconds.


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Sam Neumann | sam@samneumann.com | Boulder, CO