Fools Scold

by Alan B. Combs

I must confess that this tale also is a tiny bit scatological, but that cannot be helped. A few folks have indicated that this may actually be desirable in such stories, but I am not completely sure that this should be a general rule. The parts you like can be credited to Ms. Scarlet, the admirable pun mistress. I am to blame for the parts you do not like. Or is it visa vera? Onward, nevertheless.

Except for their excellent remuneration, a plumber’s life is not a happy thing. As well as the cruddy esthetic aspects of this profession, plumbers have to deal with lead exposure, and most terrible of all, blocked pipes. Since the days of the Ancient Roman Empire, these artisans have worked to develop technology to clear the drains. A site in the plumbing needing particular attention is the place where the pipes make a sharp turn or bend. Here is where the most severe blockages occur. Here is the point at which most developmental activity has occurred.

One of the lesser known but more successful technologies to clear pipe bends that are blocked has to do with the proper application of high air pressure and red paint (lead-based, of course). There are those patron who probably can explain how the technique actually works (and I am looking forward to this), but I am not one of those. Perhaps, it is a solvating effect of the pigment. Perhaps red paint just weighs more; perhaps it is a pigment of their imagination. Nevertheless, when the red paint is poured into the blocked pipe and allowed to stand for a few hours, the application of air pressure almost always relieves the blockade. The clearing of the block at the bent pipe is usually accompanied by a sound very reminiscent of a gigantic, juicy raspberry, or Bronx cheer. It is this sound that signals the plumber that it is time to present the bill. Everything is OK. This technique is so effective that there is a related maxim within the trade:


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