Lately I’ve been on a “Americans are pussies/These kids today cant fix ‘nuthin/Nobody wants to get their hands dirty/Mike Rowe-ish rant. My kids are frankly sick of it. My Facebook friends would rather me now complain about Obama or Newt Gingrich then go on ad infinitum about home improvement. When I go to Lowes or Home Depot (which is several times a day often for no apparent reason) I have this “strutting peacock” persona that comes over me as I electric slide my way down the various hardware aisles talking “Mr. Fix-it” jive to perky “sales associates” or nobody in particular. “Hey where y’all hiding the stainless European metric lugnuts? Oh yeah aisle 2, I knew that” or “Yeah, I’m here so often I bet you thought I was a damn vendor, didn’t you!” or the particularly gratuitous “frustrated contractor” banter, “Man if this rain dont stop I’m gonna have to tell the foreman to cut back the framing crew and push the subs back another week. This storm front is killin’ me!” To be honest sometimes I am just there to try to return the 8000 things I have impulsively purchased over the last 10 years. If the return desk people dont see through my obvious ploy (ie., “Um, sorry but this Victorian weasel wrench hasn’t been in production since the first World War. We cant take it back, sir. Also, you were here yesterday.”) then the Karmic “Law of Bogus Returns” strikes which states in large capital letters: IF YOU THINK IT’S FROM HOME DEPOT THEN IT’S FROM LOWES. IF YOU THINK ITS FROM LOWES ITS FROM HOME DEPOT. IF YOU THINK IT’S FROM ACE HARDWARE ITS FROM SEARS. IF YOU THINK ITS FROM SEARS IT IS BUT GOOD LUCK FINDING ONE THAT IS STILL OPEN OR THEIR PRODUCTS WHICH NO LONGER EXIST IN THIS SOLAR SYSTEM.
Anyway, I like to pretend I am Handy Andy with a Ph.D I also like to think I am a man for all seasons and someone just about anybody can talk to by virtue of my “common man” Abe Lincoln blue collar roots…except that I was raised in Highland Park, Illinois among ridiculous extreme wealth and white privilege so extreme that I thought everyone on Planet Earth had a personal gardener and bi-weekly landscaping service. As far as I know, nobody knew how to fix anything when it broke because when it did you called somebody with a truck and lots of tools.
You probably want me to get to the point. Ok, I will. Last week I fixed my son Eli’s kitchen faucet and I felt like a frickin’ champ. I considered the small callous I got on my right hand to be a kind of working man “badge of courage”. This week one of my toilets tried to get uppity with me and kept leaking and refilling itself over and over. What could be worse? I’m talking about a bad toilet that actually chose to overconsume water, our most precious natural resource! AND THEN just like the Honey Badger, this master toilet “just didnt give a shit”….or “flush a shit” to be more precise. This particular Kohler commode became so rebellious and obstreperous that it ended up having THREE major issues at once, challenging my Star Trek engineering skills and stretching my “man with tools” self-image to it’s vertical limit. I even started talking out loud in Mr. Scott’s phony Star Trek-meets-Braveheart Scottish accent as I struggled mightily to replace a leaking rubber flapper while water began pouring out of the wall supply valve. Then, to my horror, it started dripping out of one of the dining room recessed ceiling lights a floor below. “I cant change the Laws of Physics, dammit!, I protested from my yoga-twisted prone fetal position under the errant toilet. “Aye, the haggis is on fire for sure“, I called out to the only other imaginary Enterprise crew member present, Harmony the black Labrador. Finally after an hour of turning wrenches in every direction and pretending to know what I was doing the water stopped leaking. .. sort of a reverse biblical miracle. I also managed to extract the deformed old-as-the-hills flapper valve that not only ended up looking nothing like any red rubber flapper of this century but was an absolute dead ringer for the Starship Enterprise (attached by a tractor beam to a ginormous space marshmallow ala Ghostbusters).
Dont’ believe me? Just scroll up and take a look at the photo above and next time you’re whining about how to fix something and you wonder if you might need to call some alcoholic tradesperson on Craigslist or speed dial your obnoxious cousin Louis who never stops talking… or text your next door neighbor’s opiate-addicted halfway house residing formerly licensed contractor (who is still on parole for trying to hawk a client’s antique silverware set at a local pawnshop) pause first and take a deep cleansing breath. Then go ahead and call them anyway because this shit is really hard to figure out and there’s a damn good chance the toilet I think i fixed is going to explode tonight…..dayenu!
Atlanta Electric Slide: https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=youtube+electric+slide&vid=77351a6b11b8bd9aa85c5e5aba1593de&l=4%3A03&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608014979887794892%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-mOY2eWO2qw&tit=Marcia+Griffiths+-+Electric+Boogie+%28The+Electric+Slide%29+%28Promo%29+%28HQ%29&c=28&sigr=11b8tmt7k&sigt=124ftarej&sigi=11rbhm783&back=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dyoutube%2Belectric%2Bslide%26ei%3DUTF-8%26hsimp%3Dyhs-001%26hspart%3Dmozilla&sigb=1328shum2&ct=p&age=1273912004&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla&tt=b
Hit That Hole Ya’ll: https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?p=youtube+electric+slide&vid=42d89318412f99099d9323462dff17e6&l=2%3A15&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608046182826183480%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DlSMb6Tnd-q0&tit=L.T+Electric+Slide+*%5BHD%5D*&c=14&sigr=11b3rn036&sigt=10p1jb0mi&sigi=11rhsr18f&back=https%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dyoutube%2Belectric%2Bslide%26ei%3DUTF-8%26hsimp%3Dyhs-001%26hspart%3Dmozilla&sigb=1328shum2&ct=p&age=1263438211&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla&tt=b