Billy Bob's 50-Cent Habit

May 18, 2019

RAY: Every morning on his way to work, Billy Bob Beaumont stops at the corner gas station and spends $.25 for gas. Every evening on his way home, he stops at the same station and again spends $.25 for gas. He continues this pattern for some months. The amount he spends never varies. Nor does the twice-a-day schedule.

Finally the attendant, who has observed Billy Bob's routine says, "You know, if you'd spend about $10 on a repair, you wouldn't have to stop here so often."

What is the simple repair the attendant has in mind? And the hint, which I have to give, is that it has nothing to do with the fuel system.


RAY: Now, there are lots of potential answers to this. I mean, you could say, "Well, you know, he was buying gasoline and the thing was running so badly that he had to adjust the carburetor" or something but there was only one elegant answer: That the "gas" he's buying is not gasoline, but instead he's buying "gas" which is air for his tires or a tire that has a leak.

He puts $.25 in the machine; the thing goes ding, ding, ding; he fills up his tire; and off he goes. He buys his gasoline someplace else. And then, of course, the tire's flat after his day at work. He stops at the same filling station again, inserts another quarter--$.25 worth of gas.

So, some may go boo-hoo, hiss, now that we say it. But in retrospect, I have to say, it's brilliant.


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