'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
RUNNING WATER COMES IN HANDY SOMETIMES
To quote the wise philosopher Joni Mitchell: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Sometime it take a sudden shock to make you realize what you’ve been taking for granted.
It was the day after Thanksgiving. The kids were home for the holiday. I woke up that Friday morning to discover the house had no water. It turned out our submersible well pump died overnight, but at the time I had no idea what was wrong. The only thing I knew for sure was when I turned the faucet handle on the kitchen sink, the spout gurgled and gasped, but no water came out.
It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that water is a fairly important component when you want to wash your hands, brush your teeth, take a shower, or, the most crucial task of all first thing in the morning, make a pot of coffee.
Oops, I take that back. There is one task even more crucial first thing in the morning than making coffee. When everyone woke up I sat them down at the kitchen table. I felt like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, when he said to his men, “We have two bullets left, and there are 14,000 Mexican troops out there. So we have to make those two bullets REALLY count.”
I said to my family, “We have two flushes left, one for the upstairs bathroom and one for the downstairs bathroom. So we have to make those two flushes REALLY count.”
At that moment I think my wife and daughters would have preferred that there were 14,000 Mexican troops surrounding our home. At least our agony would be over quickly.
When we purchased our house many years ago, I remember my brother-in-law saying, “Hey, you’ve got the best of both worlds, city sewers and well water. No septic tank to worry about and your water is free. Perfect!”
Not so perfect, Eddie. Not when the submersible pump motor burns out. Not when everyone gets really thirsty. Not when the mere thought that the toilet won’t flush anymore makes your insides do the cha-cha. (By the way, why is that? I’ll be driving along the highway and when I pass a rest area I’ll think to myself, “Hmm, that’s the last rest stop for the next 20 miles,” and immediately my bladder will announce, “Oh, good point. Now that you mention it, I have to go again.” It’s more psychological than physical.)
Thankfully, in the middle of a long holiday weekend, a miracle occurred. No, two miracles occurred. First, we called the well drilling company, and they sent an emergency service truck, which arrived in only 20 minutes. Wow. Then, providentially, it began to rain hard. The two well mechanics weren’t thrilled to be working in the pouring rain, but as they worked I raced around to the four corners of the house and put buckets under the gutter downspouts. The buckets filled up quickly and I was able to lug the rainwater into the house and repeatedly refill the toilet tanks. We were flush with flushes. Praise Heaven! It was as if Davy Crockett had discovered crates of fresh ammo.
So, by the evening of the day after Thanksgiving, we had yet another thing to be thankful for: running water. Joni was right, you don’t know what you’ve got till the kitchen faucet gurgles and gasps and the house is surrounded by 14,000 Mexican troops.
And my brother-in-law Eddie was wrong, it’s not the best of both worlds, and after paying the sizable repair bill, the water is definitely not free.
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