Saturday, October 8, 2011

Everyday Heroes

There are two types of people in this world: those who will willingly walk away from a plugged toilet and those who, for whatever reason, will not. This is their story.

But first, a word on that first group of people. You suck.

The people who will walk away from a toilet of festering fecal horrors aren’t terrible people, exactly. They feel overwhelmed, outmatched, and ineffectual. More than anything, they feel afraid, and they run. Who among us hasn’t joined their ranks in a moment of weakness, shutting the bathroom door behind us and pretending we were never there, shame welling up inside of our gullet, head reeling as we try and focus on something, anything, besides the person who will enter the room next and face the living nightmare that is an unflushable toilet.

Cowards? Maybe. But deep inside of each one of us is a primal fear of blocked up toilets, and an instinctual voice telling us to flee, run away, never return. We can’t blame the weakened individuals among us who give in.

We can, however, blame the assholes who leave behind notes (thus feeling like they’ve accomplished something while doing absolutely nothing to correct that actual problem). The coworker who helpfully tapes an “out of order” on the door of the washroom containing a gross toilet that only needs to be flushed, the roommate who goes to bed after taping up a sign that reads “oops! the toilet isn’t working! =(”...they are the true assholes, the human waste blocking up the arteries of society like cholesterol. I once woke up to a bathroom covered in six inches of water, and an overflowing toilet stuck on eternal flush mode, with a note helpfully taped on the door, complete with a sad face. My rage towards the responsible roommate will never die...even after humanity has collapsed, and all that is left is our unrecycled plastic and a few starving cockroaches, my rage will live on, undeterred. Grrrrrrrrr.

But this blog isn’t about those people, either. This blog is about the people who, every day, turn and face the monstrosities plugging up the toilets of the world, grab a plunger, and fight for their right to functional indoor plumbing.

For them, a blocked toilet isn’t just a blocked toilet. It’s a metaphor for everything that is wrong with the world. It is a holy war, a struggle of man against machine, a primal battle against all that is gross and smelly and blocking up our drains.

Would it be easier to walk away? Yes. Should you probably have called a building manager or maybe a plumber after three straight hours of plunging with no success? Maybe. But giving up is easy. And those who face the plugged-up toilet are not the type to walk away from a fight. They won’t ask someone else to do their dirty work. They don’t call in professionals to kill their spiders and snake their drains. Dammit, this toilet is theirs to face alone, and they will conquer. Eventually. No matter what.

Five hours later, our hero may find themselves, alone, on the tiles of their sullied bathroom, emotionally and physically exhausted. No elation is felt as you stare at your bathroom mirror and think of all that you’ve lost today. The toilet has made you cry, and scream, and stare up at the bathroom ceiling and yell out “WHY, GOD, WHY?” The toilet has made you do things you never thought you’d do, touch things you’d never thought you’d touch, smell...terrible, terrible smells. The toilet has taken away some of your innocence, some of your youth, and some of your humanity. Like in any war, there is no true victor, and everyone walks away a little more broken, a little more worn down.

But, god dammit, the toilet can now flush.

And you, good sir, are a hero.