Today I am a plumber.
But not just any plumber… I am a vigilante plumber. The Phantom Plunger. I didn’t choose this life of clearing errant drains, it was thrust upon me out of desperation – for, no matter where I go there seems to be a jammed potty. A jammed potty that needs JUSTICE… or a good snaking.
It all began at work the other day. There was, of course, a clog, else why start here? Being the copy jockey it was determined that I would go do it, because apparently a stopped up john is exactly like a jammed copier. That is, if wads of paper covered in dark stuff was the only qualifier. People tend to forget things like the water, the bacteria or the corn when they send you off to plunge. Incidentally, should you find corn in your copier’s output tray, call Xerox ’cause that’s in their repair contract.
Alas, this was nothing new to me. I did, after all, work as maintenance staff in an outdoor summer day camp. As you can imagine, 2000 kids spread amongst 30 toilets led to some interesting war stories. Especially when it involve this subject on the urinals. One of two things could have happened – they picked it up and put it there, or (and this is my theory) the younger generation has genetically developed a poo spew defense mechanism. Bad news for naughty school janitors; worse news for the non-pedophile janitors. In either case, just eww.
That is neither here nor there so lets move on to dinner of the day in question. The Chinese Buffet. I hit the restroom to wash my hands as I usually do since working in a copy shop in the era of pandemic should be on a suicide watch checklist. Upon my return after a few plates of lo mein I come across yet another jammed throne!
I could see the office supply place. Customers are so hopped up on coffee and in a hurry, they make a mess and dash. But come on, here? Was it pride? Was someone so proud of their fiber intake to leave a perfect log in the stall of a purveyor of grease and MSG? So I took the plunger. I began to feel the power. Of course it could have just been the suction. Or the fumes.
Dinner finished it was on to the supermarket so we’d have something to cook rather than going to the buffet again anytime soon. Something told me I should have waited till I got home. That was my common sense talking. But now I had a case of flush lust! And like all avengers you get to a point where you don’t wait for trouble, you go looking for it! And someone apparently had one too many “free” grapes. To action!
It’s a bit disconcerting to know that people just don’t flush anymore. I could understand it if those toilets with the auto sensor where the dominant form of thunder bucket; and, from time to time you’d slip up and forget when you come across an antiquated piece of porcelain. But they’re not. Most homes have got the old faithful valve tank variety.
I used to think that it may have been a New York/ New Jersey thing, having come across such displays in college. 3Am working on the newspaper, on the third floor, on the weekend in a primarily commuter college and often finding poo lead me to believe it had to have been a localized ritual at best.
Maybe a survival instinct even. We did have blizzards after all. Should the power go out some clod could be like “hey everyone follow me, I left some dung in a stall in the library basement. We can burn it for fuel!”
But this is the rather hot and humid south, some 1000 miles away. No longer do I think it a regional tradition.
For god sake’s people flush! Flush early and flush often. It’s every citizen’s doody!