Don't forget to flush

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A recent disaster involving the water pump at our house has left me and my family with limited aquatic resources. For reasons unknown, we can only turn it on when we really need water, otherwise it may explode and cause a neighborhood apocalypse.

Much like the electricity going off, this kind of predicament leaves me with a feeling of helplessness and has me realizing how much water I actually need for various activities.

It's the second day I've had to endure such treacherous conditions, and I'm beginning to feel as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. In the unfortunate absence of water, I've learned toilets flush with this liquid-like substance, which I had taken for granted all these years.

So, when it comes time for me to sit on the porcelain throne, everyone in the family has to get involved, turning what should be a simple task into a full-blown mission known as Operation: Relieve Sam's Bladder.

It usually starts off with me making a wedding reception type of announcement (sans the tapping of a champagne glass) by shouting, "Everyone, I have to go to the bathroom!"

Normally this statement is bellowed as I stare helplessly at the toilet and contemplate stepping outside to do my business. Then I realize I'll most likely die of hypothermia and a group of robot archaeologists will find me thousands of years later, describing their discovery of the human race as horrific and perverted.

Whoever hears my cries for help suddenly turns into a messenger and goes in search of my stepdad who, due to the invention of the couch, can usually be found in the living room switching the channel back and forth from SportsCenter to Mr. Blackwell's Best Dressed List. ("Illinois stayed in the hunt for the Big Ten championship Sunday and in football news Nicole Kidman looked absolutely fabulous in her slim and sleek Gucci gown!")

He'll then make his way down to the basement, turning the water pump on for the sole purpose of flushing the toilet. After that, he turns it back off and it's back to living as though we're early settlers, roughing it on the Oregon Trail. In fact, I'm waiting for one of us to become infected with cholera or typhoid fever.

I'm not sure how people live without these basic necessities, but I suppose if you never had them in the first place, then life without running water and electricity is as ordinary as the sky is blue. But when the majority of my life depends upon these two things, it's hard to adapt. And it's even harder having to walk up to your parents like a 3-year-old and telling them you have to poo-poo.

It'd be nice if I could just go downstairs and be able to fix everything with a toothpick and piece of string like a real man's man, but my knowledge of carpentry skills ceased after a bird house I made in junior high was condemned and sold at auction.

Hopefully the nuisance of having no H2O will soon be gone and we can get our lives back to normal. If not, I'm sure I can live harmoniously with nature as I take showers in the spring rain and defecate on our neighbor's rose garden. Environmentalists would love me for my compassion, and my neighbors would love me for the free fertilizer.

But I have a feeling Nicole Kidman won't be too happy when I use her best dress for toilet paper.

Contact Sam at sdereign@semissourian.com.

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