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6:28 a.m. - 2003-09-01

LABOR DAY TRAGEDY

SUNDAY

11:55 a.m.

I'm sitting in the den with my wife and my son. The wife and I are sharing the Sunday paper and trying to solve those little word puzzles that say stuff like "BA NANA" and you go "Banana Split!" and then everyone laughs until they start that nagging choking coughing spasm thing and then it's not so funny anymore.

So after a few coughing spasms brought on by insane laughter, I excuse myself to take a late Sunday morning shower.

"Ahhhh," I think to myself. "I'm so lucky to have a beautiful family that is so loving and carefree!"

I strip down naked and admire my taut, firm body in the mirror. I pat my stomach and watch the raves ripple across my torso.

I go to turn the water on in the shower.

I go to turn the water on in the shower.

I go to fucking turn the fucking water on in the fucking shower.

...No water.

I stand there for a second and stare at the shower head. Silently trying to coax the water out of the shower.

No such luck.

I go back to the den where my wife is now on the floor, tickling my son as he laughs merrily.

"Susan," I say rather firmly. "Did you pay the water bill this month?"

She stops tickling him and looks concerned.

"Yes," she says. "What's wrong?"

I gulp.

"We have no water."

She gasps.

"You mean..." she stammers. "We...there's....I ... there's no water?!?"

"That's exACTly what I mean," I confirm.

We stare at each other for what seemed an eternity. Finally she said "You really need to lose some weight, Tubby."

I walked back to the bathroom to put my clothes back on so as not to scar the boy.


SUNDAY

12:15 p.m.

Pacing frantically in the kitchen, I was turning on the kitchen sink every 15 seconds, waiting to see if water would spew out like projectile vomit, only in clear liquid form.

No water.

I had forced my wife to prove to me that she had paid the bill. Ever since she had an "episode" last year where she "forgot" to pay a few bills and we started getting late notices, every time something goes wrong around the house, I naturally think she "forgot" to pay the bill.

So while she's digging through stacks of bills, I'm fiddling with the sink faucet.

Andrew walked up to me and asked to be lifted up.

"No Andrew," I said sternly. "Daddy's trying to make the water come on."

"I found it!" Susie said in a triumphant tone.

"Lemme see," I snarled, snatching the bill out of her hand.

She had paid it. Had the check number on the bill and everything.

Meanwhile, Andrew had begun to cry because Daddy wasn't picking him up.

"Will somebody PLEASE shut that brat up?!" I bellowed.

The lack of water was making me testy.


SUNDAY

12:40 p.m.

I sat in the middle of the den, rocking back and forth quietly on the floor as I stared back toward our bathroom.

I was clearly catatonic.

"How do people live like this?" I kept repeating. "Those pig fuckers in 'Little House on the Prairie'? How did they live like this?"

"Watch your mouth," Susie snarled. "I know you're upset, but Andrew is beginning to repeat things and the LAST thing I want him to repeat at daycare is 'pig-you-know-whatters'."

"How do people live like this?" I repeated, rocking back and forth with my arms wrapped around my knees which were pulled to my chest. "How do people live like this?"

I was going mad.


SUNDAY

1:05 p.m.

Susie finally got through to the water company and got some answers.

"Somebody hit a water main," she said. "They said they'd have it repaired in a few hours."

"A FEW HOURS?!?," I snapped. "That's what they told those pig fuckers in New York City a few weeks ago!! They went without water for two days!!!"

"Watch your mouth!" she said for the umpteenth time. "Those people in New York City didn't have power OR water. They didn't have anything! Go get on the computer and relax!"

"Relax?!?" I cried. "How can I relax?? I NEED A SHOWER!!!"

"You showered before bed last night," she reminded me. "You had a shower 14 hours ago and you haven't left the house since then."

There was no reasoning with her.

She had clearly gone insane.


SUNDAY

1:30 p.m.

During my descent into madness, I managed to write a song in my head about the tragedy that had befallen us on this last day of August.

It was called "I Want My Goddamned Water Back".

Goes a little somethin' like this:

(Ahem)

"I want my goddamned water back,

I really need to wash my back,

I want my goddamned water back,

I want my goddamned water back, pig fuckerrrrrrs."

Singing the song gently to myself calmed me and settled my nerves.

But it didn't prepare me for what was to happen next...


SUNDAY

1:32 p.m.

The phone rang.

"It's the water company!" I squealed, knocking Andrew over as I lunged for the telephone.

It wasn't the water company.

It was somebody calling for Susie.

It sent me spiralling into a state of confusion.

Similar to New Jersey.


SUNDAY

1:55 p.m.

It had now been two hours since I realized that we had no water.

My whiskers had grown a fraction of an inch in the time that I first made the grisly discovery.

And ... truth be told ... I was beginning to smell like rotted vegetables.

"You stink!" I told Susie, hoping that she would think the stench that permeated our home wasn't me, but in fact, herself.

"That's you that stinks," she said. "You smell like moldy zucchini."

Curses!

Foiled again!


SUNDAY

2:15 p.m.

With Andrew napping and somewhat oblivious to the horrors that surrounded him in the home's evil plumbing, I made a decision that could possibly change our lives and family structure forever.

"I'm getting on the computer," I said. "I can't take this madness anymore."

"That's fine," Susie mumbled. "I'm going to watch HGTV."

I played Virtual Drug Dealer but was doing horribly lousy.

I chalked it up to the fact that nobody wanted to buy drugs from an unshaven guy who smelled like sour carrots.

Goddamned Virtual Drug Addicts.


SUNDAY

2:40 p.m.

"I'm taking a nap," I announced as I walked through the den.

"Have fun," Susie said, eyes fixated on HGTV.

"How can you just blow this off?" I asked. "I mean...we have no idea when our water will come back on ... if it EVER comes back on!"

"It'll come back on," she mumbled. "Quit freaking out about it."

"Quit freaking out about it," I repeated in my "Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah" tone.

I swear ... had we had a clean knife in the house at that moment ... I'd be in jail right now on the pretense of killing my wife.

However, I refuse to stab her with a dirty knife.

And all the knives were in the dishwasher.

Waiting to be cleaned.

She's so lucky sometimes.


SUNDAY

2:50 p.m.

As the "Hallelujah" chorus rang loudly in our home, Susie walked in the bedroom.

"The water's back on," she said nonchalantly.

I jumped out of bed with the energy usually reserved for when I hear the words "The Pizza Guy's here".

I ran to the bathroom to see if she was merely toying with me.

She wasn't.

We had water.

Beautiful, glorious, clear and wet water.

I cupped my hands in the stream of water emanating from the sink faucet, brought a handful of water carefully to my face and french kissed it.

"What in the hell are you doing?" she said.

"I love the water," I said. "The hair-metal band Ratt said it best ... You don't know what you've got until it's gone."

"That was Poison," she said, stepping into the shower.

"You sure it wasn't Warrant?" I queried.

"You're thinking of Winger," she replied.

"Yeah," I said. "Goddamned pig-fuckers Winger."

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