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05:42:32 - 2000-03-30

BOB VILA AIN'T GOT SHIT ON ME

Last week, when our hot water heater decided to heat its last drop and just gush the rest of the reservoir all over our living room, kitchen and laundry room, I learned first hand about home emergencies.

Rule number one: Home emergencies suck dirty dog ass.

Whether it's an antique china cabinet full of antique china and rusty water or your front-yard oak tree resting awkwardly in your second bedroom, NOBODY wants to deal with a home emergency. Home emergencies screw up your entire day, sometimes an entire week and sometimes even beyond that if Kathie Lee Gifford is somehow involved. You're forced to sit at home and make lemonade for strangers and then write them big checks that make them smile like perverts on a playground. In the meantime, your house is in shambles and you have an incessant desire to shove somebody ... anybody. Research shows most mailmen bear the brunt of home emergencies with bruised rib cages.

This has inspired me to write The Idiot's Guide to Home Emergencies. It will be on news stands sometime never and today I will give you the complete gist of the guide right here. It is as follows:

First off, you're an idiot and that's why you're still reading this guide. The fact is established and the prosecution has rested and went home to a nice dinner with a nice wine, maybe red...but probably white.

When a home emergency arises, the first thing that goes through your head is that your home will never, ever, ever be the same again. You are not thinking straight and would probably sing the love theme from the theme from "Titanic" on a busy street corner completely nude if it meant this certain home emergency would go away quickly.

Calm down, Kemosabe. We CAN get through this. And nobody wants to see your big ol' naked ass belting out Celine Dion songs in public anyway.

Here's some simple solutions for home emergencies that may someday benefit you. So please memorize everything I'm about to tell you and apply them to your own lives, so that I don't feel like I've wasted my time here.

*cough*

RATS

If your house is filled with rats, the best thing to do is to run screaming from your front door all the way to a neighbor's home. Continue screaming once you're at the neighbor's house. When your neighbor slaps you to try and calm you down, scream even louder. Do this for ten minutes or until you go hoarse whichever comes first.

Next, carefully and quietly re-enter your home, grab a credit card and go get a hotel room.

Or you can share a bed with Willard, Ben, Mickey and Puxatawney Phil as they casually gnaw at your calf muscles. The choice is, as always, yours.

Then call an exterminator, give them the keys to your house, and move back in after a two-year waiting period for all the furry little lice carriers to rot away.

FIRE

If your house catches on fire and you are home, run screaming from your front door all the way to a neighbor's home. It helps to be screaming "FIRE!" because people love to see fires and all your neighbors will race to their windows to catch a glimpse of your magnificent fire.

Neighbors like to "rate" house fires, so expect some neighbors to stand quietly in your front yard, holding up cards with "8.5" and "9.0" written on them in order to give your house fire a complimentary rating. This is natural, and you should try and refrain from kicking them repeatedly in their pajama-covered balls.

So remember to be wearing something nice as you run screaming from your home because you are going to be the focus of attention here for a little while. Well ... you and that raging inferno you used to call your home.

If your neighbors have a lick of sense, they will call the fire department who have become amazingly quick in its old age. But not while you're watching your antique collection of porcelain dolls feed the flames.

At that point, the firemen may as well be conducting waltzing lessons down at the station for all the time it's taking them to get there. Calm down, grasshopper.

You're just all panicky because you don't have a place to sleep tonight. Rest assured, these guys don't get paid by the minute .... they are on their way.

Once the fire marshal declares your home a total loss, it is common courtesy to cap off the evening by collapsing in your neighbor's front yard, crying loudly and cursing Christianity.

WATER

Water damage at first doesn't sound like such a bad thing.

In fact...a house full of water sounds kinda fun, don't ya think?? WHEEEEEE!!!! Slip and slide down the hallway!!!!

Still, as in all emergencies, a quick jog around the block screaming your fucking head off should be administered just to reconfirm your idiocy. After that, you might want to call some professionals and your insurance agency. That is... if you're up to date on your insurance payments. If you haven't paid a premium since 1995, I'd just call the professionals if I were you.

The good thing about water damage is it gives your house a cheery new smell not unlike a daycare center's dumpster in the heat of summer. So you may want to look into buying gas masks until this smell lifts its heavy fog from your home and drifts back to hell. How long will that take, you ask? Experts strongly believe that most water damage stench is gone by November, no matter when the damage occurs. Personally, it sounds like the experts are on crack to me.

TREE LANDING IN YOUR SECOND BEDROOM

This has never happened to me, but I've seen it happen to plenty of others. You people are the unluckiest people in the world. There's not much I can do to help you, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet that you're so unlucky that a tree in the bedroom isn't even that big of a shock to you. Probably just a normal everyday occurance for you. So running screaming from your home probably isn't in order here, since you've seen it all by now. A tree crashing through the roof of your home is just icing on the cake.

That's it. I hope when disaster strikes your home, you're intelligent enough to know how to run screaming from your home. There's other emergencies such as the power going off during Jerry Springer and half-crazed grizzly bears hiding in your closet wanting to suck on your jugular vein, but we will get to those at another time.

You may now go back to your leisurely drooling.

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