03SinkorSwimI fought the sink, and the sink won. I don’t know what you did on Mother’s Day, but I re-enacted Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” at our kitchen sink. For those of you who came in late, in 1954 Walt Disney made a movie version of“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” It’s a great movie, starring James Mason as Captain Nemo, the Nautilus as the world’s first steampunk submarine, and the Kraken as the Giant Squid. 

The plot is intense. Rumors of a sea monster attacking ships cause the U.S. government to send out a ship to discover what is going on. Turns out the sea monster is actually the Nautilus submarine commanded by the semi-crazed Captain Nemo. A bunch of exciting stuff happens in the movie: cannibals, hurricanes, deserted islands, and best of all, an attack by a giant squid. 

Mother’s Day is when the prodigal children come home to assure their Moms that all the excitement they provided during their childhood was worth it. Our house was no different. Both sons came home to see their mother. Moms are not supposed to cook on Mother’s Day, so I was in charge of lunch. After a brief time at the sink doing culinary things, I noticed the sink had decided not to drain. Where there should have been a vortex sucking liquid into who knows where, there was only a calm sea filling up the sink each time the water was turned on. This could not be good.

The logical thing was to turn on the garbage disposal to drain away trouble into the bowels of PWC. Didn’t work. Instead, the water in the sink on the garbage disposal side bubbled up on the smaller side sink. It wasn’t just water. It was water with chunks of loathsome black stuff. Some of the dark flotsam was fine grained. There was something in the pipes. I suspected either a submarine or a giant squid.

Being a husband of many decades, I had to make a quick decision. Who to blame? Ah ha! My wife had made a batch of her excellent deviled eggs recently. The egg shells had fallen into the sink. While she had removed most of the shells, undoubtably some shells had fallen into the drain and clogged it up. Blame wrongly assigned, I could self-righteously begin the process of turning the garbage disposal on and off in the vain hope of eventually breaking up the clog or the sea serpent that was creating the sink tsunamis.This did not work.

I vowed not to be defeated by a mere sink harboring the Clog from the Black Lagoon. Doing the manly thing, I went to Lowes. I bought something called a mini sink plunger that looks like a plastic accordion. For less than four bucks, my problem appeared to be solved. Unfortunately, this tool did not work. I decided to hold a stopper down in the small sink while I turned on the garbage disposal.This seemed to work briefly. The water in the garbage disposal side began to drain. As Borat would say, “Great success.”

Modestly, I felt a kinship to the heroism of Big Bad John as immortalized in Jimmy Dean’s greatest song. I began humming a modified version: “Then came that day at the bottom of the sink/ When the Clog emerged and black goo started flyin’/ Mother’s Day dinner was expected and hearts beat fast/ And everybody thought they had eaten their last/ Except Dad/ Big Bad Dad/ Through the fetid water and wet chunks of this man-made hell walked a giant of a Dad that the family knew well/ Grabbed a metal stopper, gave out with a groan/ And like a giant dumb bell just stood there alone/ Big Dad/ With all of his strength, he gave a mighty shove/ And a son yelled out, ‘There’s a drain being unplugged’/ And three family members scrambled from a watery grave/ Now there’s only one left down there to save, Big Dad/ Then came that rumble way down in the ground/ And water and chunks belched out of that drain/ And everybody knew that Dad’s plumbing efforts were in vain.

It turns out water is not compressible. America’s favorite geyser, Old Faithful, erupted from the small sink, spraying a magnificent stream of filthy chunky water onto me and into the air. Water, water everywhere. And yet the boards do shrink. Tonight, let us praise professional plumbers. 

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