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I saw the movie Brazil in 1985, and even though that was 22 years ago (cough), there is a character from it that still resonates with me: Archibald “Harry” Tuttle, the vigilante repairman/plumber who circumvents Brazil‘s dystopian Central Services to conduct freelance maintenance and repairs. Twenty-two years ago, the idea that plumbing and electrical work was tantamount to terrorism amused me. Now I just want to know if ole’ Harry is in my local Yellow Pages.

It seems I need the services of a renegade plumber myself. As I’ve mentioned before, once Simon started eating solid food, his diapers got a little scarier. Anticipating this, when I ordered his size medium Fuzzi Bunz last month, I added a diaper sprayer, a.k.a. a “personal bidet”, to my order.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s a device that hooks up to your toilet and allows you to spray off the bulk of the offending bits before laundering the diapers. I went to install this gizmo a few nights ago and was thwarted at step 1: “Shut off water supply to tank”. It seems it had been so long since someone had done so, that the entire mechanism was corroded into place and would not budge. That’s no good.

So I called Willman Plumbing, in business since the Civil War, where the receptionist Gladys not only knows my mom, but also told me that “[she] only figured out that Ms. Goldstein was Mrs. Wolfson’s daughter” a few years ago. Incidentally, being identified as “Pearl’s granddaughter” when you call the plumber has got to be one of the quintessential, back-in-Kansas moments of all time. But I digress.

Yesterday at 11:00 a.m., Steve from Willman plumbing entered my home. As long as he was here and I was paying for the service call, I figured I might as well have him install the sprayer.

I should have known. Much like the 3.5-gallon Canadian toilets that desperate Americans smuggled across the border after the 1992 Energy Policy and Conservation Act doomed us all to 1.6 gallon toilets that don’t get the job done, it seems my diaper sprayer is also illegal and that, by owning it, I have joined the ranks of vigilante bathroom appliance owners.

You see, without some special part, my humble diaper sprayer could be the cause of the contamination of the entire city’s drinking water. It’s highly unlikely, but it could happen, Steve assured me with an earnest face. As such, he cannot install my sprayer without risking his professional license. In fact, Steve was so horrified that he took my installation instructions with him to show his boss because, “He won’t believe this. I can’t believe anyone sells these things. Where did you get it again? Off the Internet somewhere?”

You would have thought he had just discovered an illegal drug stash.

Now I’m on the hook for a second service call and a $50 part, all predicated on the notion that Simon’s poop is so toxic that it could wipe out Greater Louisville. Any other day, and I might have just installed the sprayer myself. But given how atrocious Simon’s monster poop of last week was, I’m a believer. Maybe, just maybe, that poop would wipe out the city. Then how would I feel?

Steve will be coming back next week. I’d be more upset about the inconvenience and added expense if I weren’t still laughing. Because the entire visit was worth it for me owing to one, unintentionally hilarious exchange between Steve and me:

Me: “If I install this myself after you leave, do you have to report me?”

Steve: “No ma’am. Whatever you do in the privacy of your own home after I leave isn’t my business; whatever you do, that’s between you and your toilet.”

Kinda like “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Awesome.

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