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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Throw a Bucket of Cold Water on 'Em

A couple weeks back the Bloogeyman related the first part of his epic story: The Trials and Tribulations of Installing a Water Heater. When we last left the Bloogeyman he was on his way to Home Depot to get a soldering kit to do the damn job of welding copper pipes. Why? Because the Bloogeyman doesn’t exactly fancy the thought of having some inbred plumber blow up his house. The Bloogeyman prefers to do the job himself.

So anyways, the Bloogeyman is on his way to the local Home Depot to pick up a soldering kit, some copper pipe, and some couplings. The great thing about Home Depot is that it’s basically like a huge candy-shop for men – I mean the amount of power tools, electrical gadgets, and just-plain-manly-stuff (PVC pipe) is astonishing. Of course, if you’re not used to doing things yourself, or if you don’t exactly know what you’re doing it can be as intimidating as parachuting naked into the jungle.

Luckily, since the Bloogeyman had been through the drill before (looking at water heaters, connections, etc.) he knew exactly where to find the stuff. Oh, how the Bloogeyman strutted through the wide aisles like he owned the place. The meek, who didn’t know what they were looking for, or the babies who were waiting for some Home Depot employee to guide their hand, scattered before the mighty Bloogeyman.

Of course, once I got to the water heater / pipe section I realized I couldn’t find any soldering kits. Great…now my turn to stand around helpless like a baby who just crapped his pants waiting for some grownup to come rescue him. Screw that, I’ll go find some employee. The first guy I run into, a kid, actually (is there some sort of pimple-count test you have to pass before becoming an employee of Home Depot?) starts walking with me towards the soldering kits while I tell him exactly what I’m going to be doing.

“Hey, you should use this stuff right here – CopperBond – you just put it on the pipes and bond them together, you don’t have to do the soldering”, he said as he grabs some epoxy glue-type stuff for bonding copper pipes.

“Yeah, but will this really work?”, I said as I scratch my head and look at the label denoting a $5.99 price (that’s gonna be $20 less than getting a soldering kit).

“Sure, that stuff will work. And look here on the back of the box, it says this stuff is guaranteed to provide a leak-proof joint. If this stuff leaks and messes up all your stuff you can, like, sue the hell out of them and get a ton of money”, he advised.

I actually started laughing out loud.

I mean, come on – like you can sue some large-ass corporation that’s probably a subsidiary of GE or something because their ‘CopperBond’ didn’t bond your copper and water-damaged your whole house. You’d get that lawsuit shoved up your ass so hard by some GE corporate lawyers that you’d end up paying them for slandering their product or something. I almost wanted to pat the kid on the head because he was so naïve!

“No, really, you could sue them and get them to pay for all your damages”, the kid defended.

“Yeah, well maybe, but probably not”, I said noncommittally.

Screw it, I’ll just go for the soldering kit, I thought as the kid walked away. If I’m going to do the job myself might as well do it right.

Of course, there was also some latent pride at being able to walk up to the counter and purchase a propane torch soldering kit. I’m a big boy.

So I get home and fire up that torch. First things first, I have to undo the previous joint the previous scumbag plumber welded into the wall.

So, I start to heat up that joint – once the solder gets hot enough I should be able to pull the pipe off.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

There’s molten hot soldering dripping onto my hand as I hold the torch below the joint. Goddamn, molten metal is hot! I go run my hand under some cold water – luckily I hardly got burned – and then go find some gloves.

To make the rest of a long, boring story short suffice it to say that there really weren’t any other hilarious mishaps (no, my eyebrows did not get burned off and I do still have a house). Frankly, I kind of enjoyed doing this project myself – it’s always cooler to do something with cool tools than say, sweep the sidewalk.

All-in-all I’m actually glad I didn’t have to deal with watching a plumber do a shoddy job and overcharge me when I could basically do the job myself in roughly the same amount of time. And I guess that’s what it’s come to – these days you either have to buck up and do the job yourself or resign yourself to the fact that you’ll probably get ripped off.

And that gets me to our current-day larger than life scandals. You can’t trust anyone anymore because they won’t think twice about ripping you off. Take Enron, for example, Ken Lay rips people off and just walks away. He is never going to trial. And hell, even if he does go to trial, he’ll probably get some lame Martha Stewartesque slap on the wrist. Raise your hand if you would gladly go to a minimum-security prison for 5 years if you got $100 million dollars out of it. Yeah, some of us have ethics, but face it, most people don’t. And, even if they try to take the money away from Ken Lay he’s had like 4 years to carefully stash, launder, and hide the money away. What a scumbag…

We need to revamp the whole prison system to create only two types of prisons: regular, and super maximum security. The super maximum security would be for people on death row, people who don’t behave (taking away their pudding doesn’t help), and psychos. Regular is for everybody else. That’s right – Mr. I-carjacked-somebody-and-then-shot-two-people right next to Mr. I’m-just-a-tax-accountant. I really think that if people like Michael Milken, Charles Keating, and Ken Lay had to bunk with some 300lb Bubba who’s serving 20 to life for gang-raping a Teamster they’d think twice before stealing pension money from old ladies.