On the other hand...well, he can't use the other hand. A childhood injury left him with an atrophied right arm and hand. So Jones, bitten by the juggling bug as a teenager, is now, at 35, the only one-handed professional juggler in America known to the International Jugglers Association.
One of four sons of a salesman and a schoolteacher, Jones grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis. When he was 8, he broke his arm in a fall from a jungle gym. Complications set in, resulting in infections of his muscles and tendons, and, despite 25 operations, he lost most of the use in his arm and hand. "Some of my other children would have been devastated by this," says Jones's mother, Rita, "but Dale is so confident—he handled this better than I would have."
"My arm was different," says Jones. "It was very scarred. But when you have to constantly prove you are better than other people, it makes you want to achieve and overachieve."
When Jones was 15, he saw another student juggling in the high school cafeteria. "The girls were going crazy over it," he says. He walked into the lunch line, took two oranges and, on his third try, managed to juggle them with his left hand.
During the next year, Jones practiced endlessly, learning to compensate for his nearly useless arm by bouncing juggled objects off his feet, knees and chin. At 21, despite his parents' qualms, he joined the Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he stayed for less than a year and then launched his own career. "I'm more of a fighter than people think," he says. "You don't get to be a one-armed juggler by quitting."
These days, Jones, whose wife, Janet, 31, is a preschool teacher, makes what he calls "a nice middle-class living" working state fairs, trade shows, colleges and cruise ships. Ultimately he sees himself going into another line, perhaps public relations. Until then, though, his plans are up in the air.