Self Mock #5

2009 October 6
by mockers

ohbrotherGood morning everyone.  Yes, this piece was published elsewhere almost 5 years ago.  I posted it today because 1) The last month has been a bitch and 2) It’s especially appropriate as I look for representation for my little novel – any help you might provide me on that front would be appreciated.  Enjoy…or yell at me for being lazy…either way.


Every so often, I start to feel like I’m finally getting somewhere in my quest to become employed in an industry where my only job is to entertain people. I’ve done five minutes at a comedy club, I’ve had agents request to see scripts that I’ve written, I have played rock and roll at about a dozen minor league venues in town and I’ve had little pieces published here and there. About once every couple of years I see a few bucks for something I’ve done, but other than that, the whole experience has been nothing more than a complex series of emotional buildups and letdowns. And I’m not getting any younger…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I have everything I could want in this silly little existence. I am also especially happy that I have not been reduced to the level of the million assholes in New York and L.A. who chase down famous people in the parking lot after they have served them an omelet so that they can shove an unwanted script in their face. That sort of thing is about as degrading as doing the naked salsa for nickels.

I’ve grown quite accustomed to hiding in my early 20th century bungalow in the Midwest and smugly banging away at my laptop for the simple reason that I couldn’t stop if I wanted to; resigned to the fact that it probably won’t happen for me. Despite this realization, the occasional “opportunity” presents itself. When this happens, I get all excited and anxious until the “opportunity” shows its true colors as nothing more than a waste of stamps. I swear, sometimes it seems like it’s all a ruse to make the Post Office money.

To make a short story long, I am preparing to send out yet another round of queries and I thought it might be worth a shot to appease whatever gods oversee these kind of things by voluntarily humiliating myself for your enjoyment. Or as Bill Cosby once said, “I told you that story so I can tell you this one”:

A few years ago I lived in a crappy apartment in Kansas City with my girlfriend (who is now my wife). The place was nasty – the ceiling leaked, the carpet was good and stained, the door jamb was split from the time that I locked myself out and had to kick open the door to get back in and the place smelled like the old lady downstairs who would smoke while breathing through the oxygen tube that was roped around her head. We never called the maintenance people because 1) we had an illegal cat and 2) they were scary. Mostly, we just slept there and waited patiently for the day that the old lady would finally blow us all to St. Louis. To tell you the truth, we were able to assimilate relatively easy considering the rent was only about 200 bucks a month. Until the shower drain shot craps on us.

My wife was preparing to go to work one evening and yelled to me from the shower that the water wasn’t draining properly. I really didn’t think anything of it because, while she is very attractive, my wife sheds like a wookiee on a summer day. I told her not to worry and I would take care of it while she was at work.

She took off and I got down to business. Being the man’s man that I am, I picked up a six-pack and confidently headed toward the drain. I cracked open beer number one and grabbed the toilet plunger. After about a fifteen-minute process of violently plunging for a few seconds, then violently drinking for a few seconds, I realized that the problem was bigger than the plunger. That must be one hell of a hairball. I finished beers number two and three and then headed off to the hardware store that was across the street to pick up some Liquid Plumber. I also stopped at the gas station and bought a few more beers as I was beginning to realize that this was going to take a while.

I got back to the bathroom, cracked open beer number four and then the bottle of wife-hair-eating-chemicals. I read the directions that said something to the effect of, “Pour this stuff into whatever is clogged dumbass – and make sure you drink with the hand that is holding the beer and not the hand that is holding the deadly chemicals”. I followed the instructions to the letter and then sat down for a night of video games while waiting for the chemicals to do their stuff.

I awoke to the sound of my wife tapping on my forehead. She was back from her overnight shift and was curious about a number of things: Why am I asleep in a chair wearing last night’s clothes with beer cans scattered around me? What am I doing with one hand in my pants and one hand on the video game controller? Is she going to be able to take a fucking shower before going back to work tonight?

I took a second to figure out who I was and why I was here, then I stood up, made my wife breakfast and told her to go to bed and I would have it taken care of by the time she got up. We then simultaneously headed for the bathroom – she wanted to use it and I wanted pain relief for my throbbing brain. I grabbed a bottle of generic acetaminophen and noticed as I was walking out of the bathroom that the tub had not drained. As I listened to my wife’s disappointed tone about my failure to take care of something so simple, I decided it was time to break out the big guns.

Again, I walked across the street to the hardware store and picked up a bottle of extremely concentrated air. The idea behind this product is that the release of high-pressure concentrated air into the clogged pipe would dislodge the wookiee hairball and rocket it at high speed toward the sewage plant, thereby allowing our tub full of shower water and chemicals to finally drain. I opened the can and pressed it through the soup that was now eating away at the finish of the tub and created a seal with the drain’s opening. I turned my head away from the area in question, closed my eyes and pushed down hard on the can. The air shot out and the concoction that was my tub began to bubble violently. The whole situation was akin to asking a monkey to operate a defibrillator. I decided that it had bubbled long enough and took the can out of the soup. Nothing, still clogged. I had the urge to yell “Clear!” as I pushed the can back into the drain opening. I let it bubble even longer this time. Still nothing. “Clear!!!” I held the can in place until it was empty, but the damn drain would not unclog.

I said screw it and went back to the hardware store and gas station one more time. This trip involved more beer and a small drain-snake. I was starting to suspect that the woman had poured Quickrete down the freaking drain. This was the last thing I knew to try, other than call maintenance or a plumber.

I got back to the bathroom, cracked another beer and started trying to fish the snake into the drain. It wouldn’t move more than a few inches. Whatever was blocking the drain was right near the top of the pipe. Too bad I never tried clearing the blockage with my finger before I filled the damn thing with the ingredients usually found in a chemical warhead. I finally decided to risk it and put on a pair of rubber gloves and started trawling around in the soup with my hand. As I stirred up the current, I accidentally splashed some of the juice up on my arm. I immediately jerked my arm out of the lethal liquid and began flailing about like a little girl.

In the throes of panic, I had accidentally smacked my arm into a lever that opens and closes the drain in the occasion that one might want to take a bath rather than a shower. The drain opened and the deadly chemicals drained harmlessly into the main.

Two days, about a hundred bucks worth of plumbing supplies and beer, a chemical burn (that never fully materialized) and my sanity could have been spared if I had just toggled the stupid lever before I did anything else. I must say, however, that the tub was cleaner than ever after the ordeal was over.

There. I stand before you completely emasculated. Do your worst, oh gods of rejection letters and people who fuck with people’s dreams for a living – Do your worst.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 October 6

    “…my wife sheds like a wookiee on a summer day.”
    ROFLMAO!! Mine too.

    Great stuff!
    Always try the simplest thing first. Like when Dwight Yoakam said, “Is they gas in it…mmm-hmm?”, then get beer and settle down for a long project.

  2. 2009 October 6
    kristin permalink

    I am laughing my ass off right now, because I have done the exact same thing. Except I had bourbon.

  3. 2009 October 6
    SeanInSac permalink

    Ah, nothing like a Surf Report guest classic on a quiet Tuesday morning. Thanks Metten.

  4. 2009 October 6
    WB in OH permalink

    Oh man that’s funny! I hate plumbing problems with a passion, always a three trip minimum to the damn hardware store. I forgot about the joys of having a woman around with their long drain choking hair.

  5. 2009 October 6
    AngryWhiteGuy permalink

    Similar (sort of) to the time I believed my wife that her wiper fluid in her car was not working. After a couple of hours of yanking out the flow tubes and trying to make the hole bigger to spray out the fluid, I realized she was pushing the wrong goddamn button for months. Should have tested that first.

    Also similar to the time I got a new car stereo installed and for weeks, I could still hear it faintly playing after I turned it off. After payiong nearly $300 for it, with installation (this was early 80’s), I took it back to the vendor, watching them through the window, only to have a guy pull a small boombox out of my back seat floor and hold it up. I wanted to crawl away.

  6. 2009 October 6

    Great story. Several years ago I was fighting both toilets. One wouldn’t flush correctly and the other wouldn’t drain. So I replaced them both. That’s my answer now, I replace the whole fucking thing. I’ve had to replace one of the two new toilets recently. But it beats messing with it for days on end.

  7. 2009 October 6

    Lesson #1 – before sttempting any pumbing repair, check the obvious. I think you are emasculated enough. Next victim…

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS