Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
I HAVE A PEACH OF A PLUMBER
I don’t want to gloat, but… I’ve got something you don’t have! Nyah nyah, ha ha!!
OK, well maybe I do want to gloat. You see, I’m so excited. I’ve finally acquired something I thought did not exist: the perfect plumber—who I now refer to as My Plumber.
My Plumber actually returns my phone calls. No, I’m not kidding. I realize most plumbers would rather hitch up their pants to their waistlines than return a phone call, but when I leave a message for My Plumber, he calls back within a few hours. And then he apologizes for not getting back to me sooner, even though the reason his call could not get through right away was because I had the phone line tied up on the Internet.
But that’s nothing. Wait till you hear this—in fact, you’d better sit down for this one. My Plumber shows up at the exact day and time he says he will. No, no, really. It’s true. Every time he has come to our house, he showed up right when he said he would.
The first time we used My Plumber, back when I assumed he was just a plumber, he said he would come over at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. I told my wife to be prepared to wait around all day and then call him about mid-afternoon and ask exactly which Tuesday he meant. But at five minutes till nine, a truck pulled into our driveway. “I thought UPS had brown trucks,” I said. “That one is green.”
“That’s the plumber,” my wife answered.
“No way,” I said. “If that’s the plumber, then that means he’s…on time?”
Sure enough it was him and he was on time. And every other time he’s done a job in our house since then he has been on time. It feels a little like winning the lottery.
In addition to being polite and punctual, My Plumber charges reasonable rates. Of course, I have no idea what a plumber ought to charge. I always try to estimate the cost of a job in advance based on how desperate I am to have the work done. For example, installing a toilet, sink, and shower stall in the basement, which we really could live without, shouldn’t cost too much, maybe a hundred bucks. But fixing a dripping faucet that’s driving me crazy because it keeps me awake at night, well, for that I’d be willing to take out a second mortgage and give a plumber $25,000.
The first job My Plumber did for us was relatively small. I estimated it would cost at least $100, and maybe as high as $500. When he was done, My Plumber handed me an invoice for $72.50. He seemed a little startled when I kissed him on the lips, but he told us to call anytime if we needed his services again.
Needless to say, we have used the services of My Plumber again…and again. When you live in a house that is over 40 years old, a lot of things start dripping and clogging. (Hey, I’m over 40 years old and I have a lot of things that are dripping and clogging, too—maybe there’s a connection? I bet My Plumber could do just as good a job as My Doctor. He seems to have a similar array of tools, and he sterilizes them far more often than My Doctor does.)
We are so pleased with My Plumber, if I notice that it’s been a few months since he’s been over our house, I’ll go into the basement and whack a pipe with a hammer or try to flush a blanket down the toilet just to have a reason to call him. My wife suggested we could invite him over for coffee instead—he could still invoice us if he likes—but I said that would be an insult. A true artist doesn’t want coffee, he wants to use his creative skills whenever possible.
One final thing about My Plumber. He also does excellent work. Even if he did lousy work, everything else about him is so wonderful we would still love him and call him on a regular basis. And compared to my plumbing abilities, if he had no more skill than a drunk spider monkey with a tool box, it would still be a major improvement. (Yes, I admit it, back before we met My Plumber I actually tried to fix some things myself—not a pretty sight.)
At this point, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to mention My Plumber’s name and give his phone number. Yeah, fat chance. Nyah nyah, ha ha!!
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