I've been having an issue in the bathroom for several weeks now. And as you may have figured out from Male Restroom Etiquette and some of my other writings, I do not always adhere to the old adage, "What happens in the john stays in the john." So prepare yourselves.
Some time ago, I went to flush and--how shall I put this--it didn't go down. The whole swirling/draining mechanism came to a complete stop. Through trial and error, I found that if I held the handle down for approximately 4 to 7 seconds, the flush cycle would complete. And so, this is how I've been living for several months now--holding down the handle to ensure a full and proper flush. This went on for so long that whenever I used a toilet that flushed properly, it caught me off guard.
Then Friday, more trouble erupted. The water wouldn't stop running after a flush--a not uncommon problem in toilet circles. So I did what any normal person would do. I jiggled the handle. And waited.
It kept running.
So what do I do when something goes wrong around the house? Eventually, I call the property manager. But not before I have a look at the situation myself.
Do I consider myself a handyman? Let me put it this way: I do not. Not in the class of a Bob Vila, Al Borland, or Handyman Negri anyway.
But I am a man. Therefore I possess an unshakable, innate belief that I am equipped with the ability and know-how to fix any device, grill any meat, and find any place on Earth without asking for directions. And so, I took the lid off the back of the toilet and looked inside. Also known as, pretending to know what I'm doing.
You may think a toilet is nothing more than a base, a seat, a lid, a hole, a tank, and sparkling blue liquid that magically fills the bowl when you flush. But the inner workings of this magnificent invention are as intricate and complex as any simple lever or pulley machine.
As I opened the lid, I saw the familiar floaty ball, the chain, the bendy tube, and the stopper thingy. (These are all highly technical terms. No need to concern yourself with them at this point.) My keen eye noticed that one arm of the stopper thingy was broken. Aha!
Now what to do? I knew the property manager wouldn't come out for something like this until Monday. So it was either run up a $200 water bill, cut the water off and go to a public restroom anytime I had to go, or plunge my hands into the bacteria-infested waters and try to fix it myself. *shudder* Talk about a germophobic nightmare. I'd rather lick a shoe.
It wasn't an easy decision. But the Taco Bell bathroom really wasn't all that bad.
I'm kidding. I went to Wal-Mart and found a stopper thingy, which they call a flapper--layman's terms, I'm sure. Then I came home, got out one of the four or five tool sets Dad has given me for Christmases past, and entered the bathroom, which had just become my personal workshop.
Not surprisingly, or very surprisingly, I was able to affix the flapper to the crapper with fleeting aplomb and only nominal water spillage. I didn't even have to use any of my tools. Just some scissors.
And who knows, maybe in thirty or forty years, my hands will feel clean again.
"I washed my hands in muddy water. Washed my hands, but they didn't come clean..."