It Happened to Me

Fifty-three dollars, down the crapper

“It a great day at [plumbing company]!” said the cheery voice on the other end of the line.

This gave me hope, as I like it when people approach their work with gusto. Especially when I’m about to enlist their services.

The toilet in my swanky upstairs bathroom has slowed over the past year. It still works, but the force with which it flushes has diminished greatly. A carnitas-and-bean-burrito dinner is a “two-flusher”, possibly three if you asked for whole wheat burritos. You get my drift.

The toilet’s design is a little odd — the flush handle, ball and assorted gewgaws that are located in the tank are there, but configured somewhat oddly. Unlike your typical North American toilet, there are two large holes at the bottom of the bowl: one that feeds water into the bowl, and the regular large one in the middle that takes last night’s dinner away. Although I’d had some experience fixing toilets (having worked at a bar back at Crazy Go Nuts University) this one was just a little too odd. It was time to get a pro.

When the plumber showed up, he reached into his pocket and pulled out two paper shoe slipcovers which he slipped over his workboots so as not to mess up our floors. I was impressed; this is what service is all about.

We went to the bathroom and he popped the cover off the tank. There was an expression of surprise on his face as he read some markings on the tank’s back wall.

“Nineteen twenty-nine,” he remarked.

“Is that the model number?” I asked.

“No, that’s the year of manufacture. See?”

He pointed to the inscription. Manfactured 1929.

The toilet wouldn’t look out of place in any modern bathroom, and it certainly didn’t look as if it were made in the era of claw-foot bathtubs and sinks with separate faucets for hot and cold water. In the Jazz Age, it must’ve been considered The Toilet From The Future.

“So can it be fixed?” I asked.

“Nope. You gotta get a new one. Here’s a list of available toilets…”

“Whoa, hang on. I’m a renter here. I’m going to have to talk to my landlord first. But before it gets to that, isn’t there something that can be done to increase the flow? A tweak, or some kind of retrofit?”

“It’s cost too much. The best thing to do is get a new toilet. It’ll last longest.”

“Well, like I said, that’s a major fix for the house. I’ll need to talk to the landlord.”

“All right.” He handed me a price list for new American Standards. “Give us a call when you’ve gotten the go-ahead.” He then pulled out an invoice. “Visit fee…tax…that’ll be fifty-three dollars, please.”

Our exchange couldn’t have lasted longer than two minutes.

Fifty-three dollars. I think I charged my last freelance client three dollars less, and per hour!

When this computer fad blows over, I’m going into plumbing.

13 replies on “Fifty-three dollars, down the crapper”

You already were in plumbing once

just google:

“cadillac of toilets”

it is a 1920’s CASE

I knew my plumbing degree from Crazy Go Nuts would come in handy one day


You should do what I did: marry a chick who enjoys home reno tasks – including plumbing! As a side advantage, she didn’t pull a hissy-fit when I was assembling and soldering a bigass wifi antenna (8’x5’x4′) in the kitchen.

Eldon (not the one you’re thinking of)

It’s an antique! Your landlord has got to save the toilet. Isn’t your house marked a historical something-or-other? The toilet would fall into that category. Maybe an antique-loving benefactor will come to your rescue.

Old joke: Physician calls a plumber. Plumber comes, does trivial fix, charges $90. Physician says, “I don’t charge that much, and I’m a doctor!” Plumber says, “Yeah, I didn’t get that much when I was a doctor either.”

…which would be why my best pal is jacking in his career in environmental impact analysis as one of the UKs asbestos experts, and turning to plumbing, so he can support his family

Eldon: She’s got sisters, but they only like accordion-playing, ssh-tunnelling, sideburn-wearing, Mac-addict Asian bloggers in their mid-30’s.

Know any?



That’s too bad because, I only know one synthesizer-playing, flaming-cowboy hat wearing, goatie sporting, vintage throne fixing, multi-platform open source addicted Asian blogger in his mid-30’s. I guess close only counts in horseshoes and hitting the bowl.

sorry I couldn’t be of more help,


Eldon: Open Source??? Who could could be attracted to someone affilated with that nonsense?




Tell me about it. You don’t want to know the number of times I’ve been out with him and women come up and tell me “Hey, I think your accordion playing friend with the goatee is really sexy, but that open source thing he’s into. I’m just not that kind of girl. ewww”




I’ve found that the kind of girl who “gives it away freely” isn’t usually attracted to guys who do the same. Software, I’m talking about SOFTWARE!!!

Regards, Eldon.

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