Your RDA of Irony

My New Career

I am about to begin an exciting career as a ditch digger.  It pays better than being a writer–three times as much.  I owe this vocational revelation to my plumber.   When he was prepared to charge me a $150 an hour to dig a hole in my yard, I realized that I was in the wrong business.

My apprenticeship began last week when I noticed that soapy water from the washing machine was backing up into a toilet.  If I were more sophisticated, I would have appreciated my fulminating toilet as a makeshift bidet.  Unfortunately, I am just not that French.  No, I could only think of the situation as a disaster, and so I called the most reliable plumber we know:  someone who will only rob you blind but guarantee the work. 

Eight hundred dollars later, his crew alleviated the immediate problem and gave us the long-term prognosis: we needed a new pipe and that would require extensive digging by two men at a $150 a hour.  I told him that I could get Ivy League PhDs to do the job for less.  (Actually, I only know two–and I am not really sure that they can be trusted with sharp tools.) 

However, I can be.  When it comes to tools and manual labor, I even have delusions of being Gentile.  So, to save money, I offered to dig part of the hole.  The trench is supposed to be six feet long, three feet wide and four feet deep.   (If there is a jester’s skull there, it is mine.)   At the very least, I can remove and save the top soil.  True, my 57 year-old body probably can only do half the work of some burly young plumbers; but I would only charge one third as much.  That is a 17 percent savings! 

The plumber would still do any work that required skill and training, but I was capable of the mindless drudgery.  I cannot tell exactly what his reaction meant.  Did he shrug in acquiesence or in disbelief?   He has yet to send me his official estimate for the project; so perhaps he is trying to avoid me. 

That is too bad.  If he liked my work as a ditch digger, I could have used him as a reference on LinkedIn.

  1. Rafferty Barnes says:

    Congratulations on your new career!

    The story goes that my great-uncle was the only one who had a job in our family during the Great Depression, as a ditch -digger. There were men lined up outside the ditch just waiting for him to give up and lay his shovel down, so they could jump in and take over his job.

  2. Alan Perlman says:

    You should have offered to edit something for him in exchange for the whole job.

  1. There are no trackbacks for this post yet.

Leave a Reply