|Why yes, I do use an overturned rowboat for a workbench while mucking out my sewer. Doesn't everyone?|
I don't know what my son thinks about me. I am not my son's friend. I am his father. I know what that means. It's fatherly malpractice to be your son's friend. It's an abdication of responsibility and an imposition. You can't be king and hail fellow well met at the same time.
He helped me without a murmur of complaint. He was really helpful, too, like a real man. I stopped thinking of him as a kid, my kid. I was in charge because I was Stanley Baker and he was Michael Caine and I had a few days of seniority in an arbitrary system that decides who's who and what's what. We'll both get exactly the same pincushion treatment if we don't fight and win.
I said nothing about my doubts. I pictured the crazy iron flail grinding dumbly round and round in the dead end of one pipe, with the promise of a perpendicular rebirth in a world just beyond its reach. My life is like that a lot. Grinding blindly around and covered in excrement is no way to go through life, son.
By some miracle, it made the turn. Now, I know luck when I see it. Well, I would know luck if I saw it. I guess I would. How would I know? At any rate,this was just like luck, so I didn't push it. There was no power on Earth that would make me pull that cable out of the pipe until I'd gone all the way to Glory Land.
When the snake gets going, it basically pulls itself into the hole. My son advanced with the machine, we'd stop, unhook the end, back up the machine ten feet, hook on another length of cable, and let it rip again. It went fast. We had eight, ten-foot lengths of cable.
I knew that high-level analysis wasn't necessary. We were boring a hole (and my readers) right through the center of the clog. If I made it to the end of the clog, the level of the ooze in the cleanout pipe would get lower. The slop made noises like an endomorph at a Sizzler, but it hung in there. We kept adding cable until we had seventy feet in the pipe. I was already twenty feet past my meager estimate. If the clerk in the tool rental crib hadn't thrown some in for free, I would have held a busted flush, and I mean that every which way.
My son advanced on the hole with the auger, and I looked longingly at my pis aller, or piss aller, I guess -- the last bent, dirty, rusty, nasty length of cable lying on the floor. When I turned back, the poop sauce in the pipe was two feet lower.
I know you're expecting huzzahs and hosannahs, but we weren't home yet, and I knew it. The head of the cable must have found air at the other end, and the thinnest part of the gruel made it through. It could close back up and I'd be back at it again. We needed to back the cable up, then perform the back and forth action over and over until water ran free through the pipe. When we put it in reverse, I discovered what was plugging the pipe.
[to be continued]
[Update: Many thanks to Chapman G. from Virginny for his generous contribution to our PayPal tipjar. It is much appreciated]
[Up-Update: Many thanks to Russell D. in the Land of Mary for his very generous gift along with an uplifting sentiment. It is much appreciated]
[Additional Update: Many thanks to Victor P. from the Nutmeg State for his generous contribution to the PayPal tipjar. It is much appreciated]