My buddy Brian is a property manager and he spends a lot of time patching holes in drywall, fixing sinks, re-wiring electrical outlets, and un-clogging drains for his tenants.
A few years ago, Brian went mano-a-mano with a toilet that was so clogged he started to think there was a Volkswagen jammed in the thing.
After all other options had failed, he busted out the “go to” plumbers tool known as a drain snake. If you’ve never seen one before, a snake looks a little like an old-fashioned hand drill only it holds like 50 feet of coiled metal line that has a prong tip on the end. You feed the line into the toilet until you hit a clog then you crank on the handle, which spins the coiled metal line and hopefully breaks up the clog, thereby restoring flush nirvana.
So in this particular case, Brian feeds maybe 35 feet of the snake into the toilet before he hits what feels like a clog but when he goes to crank the handle to start spinning the line he can barely move the thing at all. A little resistance is normal but he said this was like trying to turn the wheel on a car when the power steering’s gone out or something.
Finally, after wrestling with the thing for maybe 30 minutes or so, he finally gets a good crank on the snake handle gets the line spinning and clears the clog.
Toilet works. Tenant is happy. Brian is off to his next project.
Several hours later, he gets a panicked call from another tenant in the same building, ”Brian….can you come over? I think someone broke into my apartment!”
So Brian rushes over and after calming her down a bit, he asks, “Well….did they take anything?”
And she says, ”That’s what’s really weird. Nothing in my place is missing. In fact, nothing appears to be touched at all except for my bathroom. It looks like they broke in, trashed my bathroom, and then left.”
So Brian goes to the bathroom for a look. Wet towels are laying around the bathroom in heaps. Shards of toilet paper and kleenex litter the floor. The shower curtain has been ripped down and there are, uh, streaks of poo all over the walls. It’s like a category 5 hurricane ripped through the bathroom miraculously leaving everything else in the apartment completely untouched.
As he surveys the damage it occurs to Brian that he’s standing in the apartment that shares a wall and therefore a drain line with the very same apartment that had the horrifically clogged toilet earlier in the day.
Apparently, in his enthusiasm to clear the clogged toilet, he’d actually fed the drain snake INTO one toilet, and OUT through the toilet in the adjoining apartment leaving it whipping around the bathroom like something out of the movie Aliens. So, when he started to spin the snake on his end instead of clearing a clog all he was doing was ripping down shower curtains and flinging poo all over the walls in the neighbor’s bathroom.
I don’t think Brian actually admitted to his tenant what exactly had happened, but in his defense, he did clean up the mess.
I think the lesson here is that no matter WHAT happens to you today, as long as no one breaks into your bathroom and flings poo on the walls, you’re still doing alright.