I’ve been away from the blog this week, as I have been busy pretending to work on the house and grade my students’ papers while secretly reading The Great Book of Amber. Yesterday, in fact, when I was supposed to respond to student quizzes, I asked them all if they’d got the all the right answers. Some said, “Yes.” For those who said, “No,” I said, “Would you get all the right answers now if I gave you the same quiz?” They said, “Oh, yes. Oh, my, yes.” So I marked them all down for A’s and drove to the hardware store parking lot to pretend to shop while I secretly read a fantasy novel.
Before we begin, I have a morality tale from earlier in the week:
Have you ever been stung by a wasp whilst spraying for mosquitoes?
Me too, which begs the question: who is the real monster here?
It’s the wasps. Trust me, that’s the moral.
Anyway, what’s wrong with me? Well, it probably all has to do with my plumbing. Plumbing is a delicate art that, if I understand correctly, was invented 8,000 years ago in Egypt, perfected 2,600 years ago in Rome, and introduced to Western Pennsylvania in the late 1970’s.
A lot of one’s personality can be determined by answers to fundamental questions about plumbing. For instance:
When there’s a problem with the plumbing, do you:
A: Call a professional?
B: Call for Sam to bring you a pair of socks and a roll of duct tape?
One’s answer, I believe, speaks volumes.
So yesterday, when the problems arose, Sam showed up with the duct tape and said, “I couldn’t find any socks. What about the one you have on.” That’s my boy. Problem solved.
Sometimes the kids ask me, “How did you learn so much about building stuff?”
Well, just from paying attention mostly. Also, I spent some time doing various forms of construction when I was supposed to be studying for my Intro to Biology final exam. But at the heart of everything I know about stuff getting built is Pappap. For instance, I remember his vivid instructions about plumbing. When I was very young, he told me, “There are three things you need to know about plumbing. Hot water goes on the left. Cold on the right. And shit don’t run uphill.”
Clearly I was destined for renovating.
Some people like to call it “home improvement,” but, really, would anybody call this improvement?
I think not. Renovating, rather, from the root word “novate,” meaning: screw up real bad. I think. I hope not to be redundant here in quoting the great plumber and writer Ray Carver, who said, “We all do better in the future.”
Meanwhile, Blaisey borrowed Zac’s guitar this morning and wrote three songs. Song 1: “All the Penguins Go to School.” Song 2: “All the Other Animals Go to School, But Not the Penguins.” Song 3: “The Animals Don’t Go to School, But Sissy and Blaisey Go to School.” Each of the songs has similar motifs and rhythms, a lot of humming in the middle of the lines, and several words that I’m not familiar with. Each song also contains the lyrics, “But you and me will never die, hmmm hmm hmmm hmm I like pie.” Needless to say, if Isaac Brock gets a hold of this talent, Blaisey certainly be a Glacial Pace artist any day now.
For the record, did anybody hear me ask for cpvc rubber cement in my coffee this morning? No. You didn’t. Which again, is sort of beside the point as it leaves me wondering: if the cpvc rubber cement applicator is in my coffee mug, what’s holding all the plumbing together? The answer, I believe, is clear: we’ll never know.