Here’s the deal. If you’ve never had a toilet overflow on you, consider yourself one of the fortunate few. I don’t know why, but there is nothing more terrifying than those few seconds as the water slowly rises towards the rim of the bowl.
And you can’t stop it. No amount of pleading and gentle coaxing will do the trick. Your cries will fall on deaf, porcelain ears. Your wild gestures and frantic hopping about will be ignored. Like Luke Skywalker hanging in the Wampa’s cave, you’ll try to will it…but the force is not strong with this one, your energy is wasted. For the water…will rise.
And it is truly frightening.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve seen – there is no more intimidating sight. Firemen balk at the very idea. Lumberjacks quake if you even mention it. Navy Seals run in fear.
You know what Chuck Norris does when his toilet overflows? He freaks out.
Because we’re not frontier folk anymore. We don’t chop down trees and build our own houses. We don’t plow the fields to grow our own food. And the majority of us don’t even know how most of the stuff we own works.
We take it for granted that the fridge will keep our groceries cool, that our heaters will keep our feet warm, and that our toilets will smoothly transport away our unmentionables.
And when any part of that system breaks down, we realize how vulnerable we are. Most of us are just one virus away from a computer meltdown, one bad sparkplug away from sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, and one overflow away from the type of mess that one can’t mention in mixed company.
My friend recently had a pipe burst in his house, flooding his garage. And a few weeks later, discovered he had termites. You’d hope that maybe the flood would have drowned the insects, but no such luck. The termites were laughing and water sliding towards their next meal. For them, a broken pipe in the floorboards just meant dinner and a drink.
It’s at times like these that we realize how crazy modern life is. We have water running through our floors, electricity flows through the walls, machines whir and click about us, cooking our food, storing our data, protecting us. Imagine trying to describe all of this to our Neanderthal ancestors – they’d be terrified, and yet we just expect it all to work out. And when that toilet does overflow, we know that what little control we thought we had was (forgive the pun) a pipe dream.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I quell the rushing waters? I don’t know. I don’t know how a freaking toilet works. What do I look like…a guy who knows how a toilet works? What would that guy even look like? What the heck are you talking about?
Sorry, this whole topic makes me uneasy.
I suppose I could try to live like my family. My immediate kin folk are nomads that roam the woods of Central Virginia, foraging for food, bathing in babbling brooks and sleeping in crudely-fashioned huts. (Maybe this is an exaggeration, but they do tend to live on dirt roads, they can often be found hiking and my dad does bear a suspicious, striking resemblance to Grizzly Adams). And, while I admire their ability to live off the land, I like knowing that if I want a Pop-Tart at three in the morning, I can go buy one, put it in my toaster, and consume it. I like television. Carpet. Indoor plumbing. And we’re back to the problem.
Who am I kidding? I’m not equipped to deal with this. I’m adding a plumber to my speed dial. I need someone who’s number one when it comes to number two. If this ever happens again, I’m bringing in a professional. And he better hurry. Because Chuck Norris and I are freaking out.