Monday, April 04, 2005


Most of my difficulties with plumbing began when I was relatively young.

The problem?

Most plumbing just couldn't handle my, er, ahh...output.

At home, it was a simple matter to deal with such Plumbing Issues. All you needed was a Plumber’s Helper - a good, stout plunger - and some Elbow Grease. But on the, that was a different story.

Our annual drives to Florida were generally two- or three-day affairs that were inevitably marred by Unfortunate Plumbing Incidents. I was not the sort of prankster who would try to flush a cinderblock, but the net effect of my Personal Production was pretty much the same. My parents, Gawd bless ’em, suffered through years of humiliating phone calls to motel engineering departments. Victims of the Heinous Anus.

Well, thankfully, I grew out of that problem after a while - or at least, learned some Cockivananda Yoga sphincter control techniques and made some dietary adjustments that helped keep things manageable. My college career, and my initial years in Houston as a young engineer, were unstained, as it were, by Plumbing-Related Issues. Even after She Who Eventually Would Come To Be Obeyed entered my life, everything having to do with the Human Bowel was copacetic.

Then came Mexico City.

It was December of 1977 and She Who Must Be Obeyed and I had been married for six months. The In-Laws d’Elisson, meanwhile, were about to celebrate Number 25, and so they invited us to join them on a trip to Mexico City. At the time, the Distrito Federal was a new and exotic destination to us - my subsequent overfamiliarity with the place through excessive business travel was still years away - so we gladly signed on. And it was a great trip, except for the fact that SWMBO twisted her ankle after climbing the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán and was out of commission for the rest of the time we were there.

Nice hotel in the Zona Rosa. Carne asada until it came out my eyeballs. Art. Architecture. Weesky dreenks. A great trip.

Until, after so many years, the old Plumbing Problem reared its ugly head. Made up for lost time, it did.

Picture it: Rising tide in the bowl. A flood that was reminiscent of both the Great Deluge of the Bible and the Log Flume Ride at Six Flags...complete with logs. Yaaagggghhhh!!!

And here is the representative of the hotel’s Engineering Department. (No, not the kind of engineering I studied in school.) And Mother in-Law d’Elisson, flustered to the edge of despair, summons up her entire knowledge of Spanish to explain what's going on.

At the top of her lungs, Mom shouts out: “Ees a problem!”

Yeah, it was.

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