Monday, February 21, 2005

Plumbing the Depths

After many months of spousal abuse (and an "incident" involving my visiting brother), I finally agreed to help fix the leaky bathroom sink yesterday. Wife, bless her, had spent a considerable amount of time trying to get this seemingly intractable problem resolved. (The correct part wasn't in stock, they stopped making that kind of stopper, etc.) We looked at the problem and decided to saw down a plastic tubing to fit, using a crappy handsaw that contributed mightily to a retirement due to carpal tunnel. And then we had to saw it down some more.

I thought I had finally figured out how to replace the right parts, get a good seal, and make the damn thing work. But it didn't, of course, try as I might over the course of two hours. This was just one of two sinks, by the way. Due to my incompetence, the other sink came apart, doubling our troubles.

Over the next 20 minutes, I lamented in colorful language my inability to perform basic house repairs, using such rhetorical tricks as "I am the biggest fuckup in the world!" and "What the fuck was I thinking? I can't do this shit!" and "Goddamn fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!" while striking a wall with an open hand.

As I lay plumbing

Wife, again bless her, opened up the phonebook. "Let's call a plumber," she said, and I, having surrendered both physically and mentally, called the specialist. He came over in about an hour. The man had a moustache that did not flatter him and an Eastern European accent that indicated the man had been a nuclear physicist back in the old country. The plumber fixed it quickly and professionally and expensively. A leak reappeared but they came over this morning and fixed it, for free.

Besides learning several valuable lessons about self-loathing, hand-eye coordination, and the profound inability to use a pipe wrench, I realized that for the same reasons the plumber makes a living with water malfunctions, so will I probably always be able to find work due to writing malfunctions.

I know many people in executive positions whose skill with the written word approaches my skill in home repair; which is to say, almost none. As long as there are executives, I will have employment.

I was rather grateful to make this profound discovery. It gave me a sense of self-worth while easing the sting of the plumber's bill, which, as Wife pointed out, could pay for a plane ticket. I was also grateful, because it gave me something to blog that was at least tangentially related to writing.

Also, I'm going to AWP. But I don't want to write about it.