We have a wonderful plumber in my neighborhood, Aufdemkamp’s Plumbing*. Tim Aufdemkamp runs the company as his father did and his father’s father, and dating back to the Jurassic Period in Germany when men were men and pterodactyls flew free and dined on ancient wursts. So, I call Timmy and ask him to have someone come and install this device in my bathroom. “OK,” says Tim,”how about tomorrow?” This is great. I prepare the cabinet and make sure everything is ready.
Dan the plumber arrives promptly at 9:30, just as promised. He is a trim man in his mid 30’s, clean and neat, and he has a helper with him. They go upstairs in a solemn way.
There is some discussion taking place and I hear my name called. I go up and see my husband with the two plumbers and they don’t look happy.
“I can’t install this thing,” I am told by a taciturn Dan,”It’s too big and heavy and besides that I would have to….” I am so confused right now that I can’t hear what he is saying. I am getting stories about what sounds like broken physics. What is the big deal? Just hang the darned thing on the side of the cabinet, hook it up and let’s go. I’ll pay you for it.
Nope, no way. Dan is convinced it’s going to drip, pull out of the wall, leak, AND bring the ceiling down in the living room underneath (perhaps killing the occupants).
Dear God. Somehow I doubt that it’s that dreadful an outcome. I offer an idea,”I can put a drip pan under it in case it leaks a bit after I use it.” What brilliance! I am so proud of myself for solving one tiny part of this hideous conundrum that I feel like someone else should shoulder the burden of Dan’s other misgivings.
No, not, no way. Nein, comrades. Dan is now looking at me like a Doberman which is trying to decide which side of my throat to tear out. His eyes are perfectly expressionless, that’s how I know he is filled with wrath. So he plays his trump card.
“What do you want me to do?” Of course he knows I know nothing about plumbing or about death by collapsed ceiling so he figures I will give up and call another plumber, apologize and grovel.
Wrong, very wrong. I gather up the courage to use my secret weapon: elegant sarcasm.
“Well, Dan, I don’t know. Somehow I missed Plumbing in college,” I say in a flat voice.
Dan gets it. BUT he presses his advantage as uber-craftsman. My husband wanted him to install a new faucet as well. He picks up the new faucet assembly and announces that it is thoroughly substandard and will certainly fail within a year and a fortnight (my terms, not his). And, as they have learned to say,”I’ll put it in for you if you want me to, but I’m telling you, it’s going to give out on you in a very short time.”
OK, take that you smarty-pants pinko customers! On top of it all, Aufdemkamp charges a hefty fee to knock on the door. We hand over a check for nothing except being upbraided by the plumber.
I am undaunted. I WILL prevail! If it’s the LAST THING I DO!
Well, will I prevail? Or will I bite the dust? Tune in and find out in the next installment of True Bathos, high amusement brought to you by Possets Perfume, Bottled Happiness.
*This is a fake name, Aufdemkamp is an semi-famous Cincinnati name conveying Old German craftsmanship, etc.