The Pipes, the Pipes Are Calling


I live in the neighborhood of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Where he once lived. In a building on the list of National Register of Historic Places. It is said Zelda and Scott were living here when their daughter was born. As a matter of fact, I think there were progeny of Scott who were over this week to fix a plumbing problem in the building. You can look it up. McQuillan Brothers Plumbing. They do good work. There is a book written that described James McQuillan’s daughter Alice as being “plumb crazy” in August 1914 over an older man, Frank Dun. It seemed like a congenital problem for some plumbers.

A plumbing problem.  I had one in my bathroom for the last 6 months.  About the time I started writing a blog.  I mean really writing.  I had put off calling a plumber.  I could avoid a bailout, caused by an overflow, just by playing with the water shut-off valve.  

The human plumbing problem.  The good news was that it did not involve incontinence or any part of my body.  Turning it on.  Turning it off.  The spiritual plumbing problem and regulating the shut-off valve.  I just had to regulate the water getting to the top of the tank.  The water in the tank affected the water in the bowl.  And the water in the bowl got flushed with all the other waste.  It seemed pretty simple.  Especially in the age where there are stories on Joe the Plumber each week of this financial crisis. 

“How many miles of water pipes? Then maintaining them. Year after year. Why did they ever build so many?

The why question of a 5-year-old . . . never really satisfactorily answered.

“Why do I have to take a nap? Why do I have to go to bed?”

“So yeah, why exactly do people need to sleep so much? And why do I love it so much? Why do I feel so invigorated on the weekend? So yeah, why are you_____?

The question to the 15-year old: what were you thinking? Why did you do that?Do you know why?

Why did you go out with him? A question to the 28-year old: Why did you ever marry him? Do you ever find out the answer?

The question of a 40-year old in times of economic distress: Why did we ever have so many kids?

A plumbing problem? The world was just there. Each morning, to my numbness. After some toothpaste. It took some coffee to get excited about it again. In the morning. Or after a shower to get excited again. In the morning.  Or a hymn. Or just a prayer. The spiritual plumbing connected us, just as McQuillan Brothers Plumbing had this week to all the neighbors.

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