Tuesday, February 14, 2012 / 12:02 pm

Tales From the Working World: The Plumber’s Surprise

What’s down your toilet hole?

by Jim Washburn

The Mamas and The Papas
The Mamas and The Papas

One of our toilets was stopped up. After trying my usual remedies—enzyme drain cleaner, magical thinking—we got a plumber in. He and his assistants attempted the manual snake down the toilet, and when that didn’t work, they lifted the toilet off its foundation and ran the big power rooter down that gaping orifice in the floor. While it was going ka-chunga, ka-chunga for the longest while, I asked the plumber about his job. I’m always curious about people’s work, particularly if it’s disgusting.

What’s the weirdest thing he’s ever found down a toilet?

He ran through some of the more frequent offenders, which included wallets, Q-tips, clumps of marijuana and perfume bottles that had fallen off a shelf, he said, “There was one thing that did really freak me out.  There was something that had the line blocked up solid, so I ran a fiber optic scope down there. When I turned the light on, I jumped back, because there in the murk, a face was staring back at me!”

Once he had the stomach to look again, he realized it was a doll’s head that had somehow got flushed down the loo. Just the same, it made me glad I do my work at a computer. 

Jim Washburn has written for the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the OC Weekly, various MSN sites and just about anybody else willing to trade a paycheck for a pulse.


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