Let me preface this by saying that a few weeks ago, I grew weary of

waiting for a friend of ours to scan some photos. " I want my own

flatbed scanner for Christmas." I whined. "How much are they?" The

Bearded Guy told me they run around $600. I was not completely

disuaded. A portion of my quest for Slack now included a flatbed

scanner. Now on to my tale of woe:


In the last ten years or so, I've started receiving my share of Slack

back...and then some. On occasion, I get a little MORE than my share.

Well, "Bob", being who he is, usually decides that's the time to make

a visit and borrow a cup or two. I usually don't notice he's been

there until my toilet plugs up. By then, he's split; taking my extra

Slack and a little extra (he knows I'll make it up in a few days).


My toilet backed up last Sunday morning. I was washing a load of

clothes while reading the net. I went upstairs to ask the Bearded Guy

a question. When I came down, the drainage from the wash cycle had

backed up into the main floor kitchen and covered the entire kitchen

floor. We turned off the electricity and got out the mop. Three hours

later, after moving every major appliance in the kitchen and washing

them and the floor down with a combination of boiling water, bleach

and pinesol (twice...I got real persnickety about it when I started

thinking it over) and I could stand to examine the source of the



We determined that it wasn't a plug in the toilet...but a full to the

brim septic tank (oh the joys of country life!). So we called the

septic tank guy. He said he'd be happy to be there bright and early

Monday morning. That meant no one could take a shower or use the

toilet until Monday....great. The Bearded Guy went to the Y and took a

shower. I toughed it out...and peed outdoors. Because this is

Oklahoma, sure enough, the Pump Boys were there at 9 a.m. They located

the child's coffin-sized cover to the tank and called me out to see

something. I couldn't imagine what I would find of interest in my

septic tank, but I obliged them.


Covering the surface of the tank was a thick webwork of tree roots. So

thick in fact, that you could have lain across the surface and never

touched the befoulment below. I guess this was their idea of a real

interesting find, so I mumbled my admiration for the Slackful

something-for-nothing attitude of the giant maples that shade the west

side of my house.


Then they smiled and said, "Well, yer tank's full alright, but that

ain't yer problem. Them root's is growin' up inta yer pipes and yer

gonna have to call a plumber to clean 'em out." Shit!


So I called a plumber after forking out $100 to get the tank pumped.

They came out that afternoon. The poor guy fussed around trying to

core out the pipe from the tank end, but it wasn't working. In the

meantime, his travails had flooded the kitchen once more. I was

prepared with a towel dam across the bathroom threshold.


Finally he was forced to lug 150lbs of equipment up onto the roof and

begin cleaning out the pipes from the maze of roof vents. After

another hour or so, we thought we'd achieved success. The toilets were

flushing once more! Another $105 and I went upstairs to take a

celebratory shower and shit.


The Mont Christmas Party was Monday night. I was rescued in the nick

of time! As we walked out the door, I re-started the load of wash and

said goodnight to my kids. When we returned around midnight, Eric said

that the toilet overflowed again when the washer drained. Arrrggghhh!

He'd already cleaned up the mess, thank Dobbs.


I'd had a few drinks and I was pretty tired ( I usually get up around

5am) so I guess I wasn't thinking clearly. I started the rinse cycle

on the washer thinking that I'd watch when it drained and stop it

before the toilet overflowed, then I could at least finish that load

(which had been in the machine since Sunday morning). I forgot that

the cold water takes an incredibly long time to fill. The sound of the

machine spinning dry at 2:30 in the morning woke me.


So, there I was in my underpants cleaning shit water for the umpteenth

time in three days at 2:30 a.m. I trudged upstairs and went to bed. I

started coughing...so badly that I made myself sick....in the sink. It

was not a good night. Fuck you, "Bob!" I dragged myself back to bed

and got up again at 6 to get my son off to school.


Okay, now I have to call the plumber again and tell him the first

douche didn't take. The said they'd send him back that afternoon. He

returns, re-douches the pipes, gets them flowing but informs me that

he has determined that the orange feltlike material that connected my

sewer pipe from the house to the septic tank pipe had come loose. I

would have to have a new line installed. Since the line was only about

15ft in length, that normally wouldn't be a problem, BUT in our case,

the idiots who lived here before us installed the air-conditioning

unit right on top of the sewer line! My sister and her baby were due

to arrive that night. It had to be replaced. They could do it next

Wednesday. I at least had toilet flow, others were backup up. They had

my sympathy but I wanted running water.


Thursday night I ate my first gyro in over a year. Guess what

happened? That's right...the mother of all intestinal irritations (to

be genteel), but that's not all! It was accompanied by sweats, chills

and joy of joys...projectile vomiting! Now, I have one functioning

toilet, five adults, one baby and a case of the trots. On the news

they warned that the warm spell was over, and it would be 12 degrees

on Friday night.


"Bob" finally moved out of range. The next morning I felt better. At

10 am the plumbing company called and said, "A job fell through and we

have couple of guys who can come right over and install your new line.

We won't have to move the a-c unit, we'll just dig under it. Four

hours later (and $440 poorer) I had a new cast iron line...just before

the storm hit.


Slack is illusive to discuss but you know when you have it. Friday

night I took a hot shower and thought about how incredibly lucky I am

to even have a house, a toilet, and hot water. Slack isn't about fame

or fortune or power. It's about seeing the world through the right

eyes at the right time. It CAN be money...but it can also be nothing

more than the sound of water flowing through a drain.





We get used to a certain level of comfort and begin to expect it. I

have to remind myself regularly how lucky I am to even get fed every

day much less actually EXPECT it. The total amount for the plumbing

project came to just about the amount of a new scanner....go figure.

"Bob" works in mysterious ways.





Reverend Mutha Tarla Star of the Little Sisters of the Perpetually

Juicy; a Proud jism schism of the Church of the SubGenius.

Worshipping Juicy Retardo and "Connie" Dobbs since 1986.