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Hess Gas Stations :: Free Air, Free Crack Pipe


photo credit :: ASurroca

Like anyone else on this planet, I’m partial to certain things. I have a set of preferences that define me as a consumer, or, shall I say,

an anti-consumer.

Consuming is not an activity

I freely partake in.

I don’t buy things. I don’t waste my time looking for things to buy.

I’ve convinced myself that, apart from the basic bear necessities,

there’s nothing I need to buy in life.

There really isn’t.

That said, it’s consistent with the anti-consumer in me to be partial to the green and white Hess gas stations,

not only because the name eerily reminds me of Hermann Hesse,

who is always ready to impress me with his asceticism,

and not only because Hess has a history of delivering a competitive price per gallon,

both these reasons should be good enough to make me a loyal Hess consumer,

loyal in the sense that I will choose Hess over any other gas station,

so long as I don’t find one that has a more competitive price per gallon

somewhere along the way.

But neither of these are the real reason why I’m willing to take the time to applaud

Hess gas stations.


the real reason is that,

at Hess,

there’s free air for my tires.

I despise paying for air for the same reason I despise paying for water.

Hess understands this inalienable right.

Hess understands that people shouldn’t have to pay for the air they put in their tires, air that is identical in composition to the air we breathe, the air we love, the air that is


And so, at every Hess gas station there’s an air pump that’s free.

All you have to do is press the button to crank up the compressor.

It’s really a beautiful thing,

free air humming into your tires.

But, like anything else in life, something so beautiful as free air has its drawbacks.

I’m talking about a development I’ve noticed just recently: missing parts.

Especially in seedy urban areas,

where lonesome addicts roam,

the free air pumps at Hess are missing a critical part in their air dispensers, namely,

the tube that you put into your tire’s valve stem,


The first two times,

I thought nothing amiss. I figured the tube had busted and was soon to be replaced.

But when I visited an entirely different Hess from the first two,

in an entirely different though equally seedy part of Miami,

the missing tubes caught my attention.

That’s when I remembered how desperate crackheads get

when they have something to smoke

but nothing to smoke it with.

If a car antennae isn’t available,

you know,

the old kind with a telescoping tube like on boomboxes,

air dispenser tubes are the next easiest solution.

I can see crackheads racking their brains for a way to smoke the crack

they just spent their last penny on after a day of panhandling.

One of them must have remembered the air dispensers in gas stations,

and seeing as Hess is the only one I know that has free air,

I’m sure the first gas station this crackhead thought about was Hess.

Yeah, that’s right, they have free air at Hess, thought this epiphanous crackhead,

I remember using it back in the days when I drove a car and needed free air.

And what do you know, there’s a Hess right around the corner!

Case of the missing tubes solved.

Oh, Watson, the needle!

But this doesn’t solve the problem of the slow leak in my tire.

March 1, 2010 10:23 am

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