By the time producers cast the film “All the President’s Men,” the nation was used to hearing the word plumber. These guys didn’t bring snakes and drain cleaner when they arrived at Watergate to “flush out” Democratic Party secrets, but this is just an example of the respect plumbers never get from Hollywood.
Of course, you know that plumbing is no laughing matter—particularly if you’ve confronted an overflowing toilet just as 20 guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. We’re in favor of elevating plumbers to sainthood, but it’s still fun to poke fun while thinking about what Hollywood teaches us about a profession that takes no crap from anyone!
Hollywood teaches us that:
- We won’t survive this life without a sense of humor.
The relief one feels watching a plumbing truck arrive on scene is enough to restore our sense of humor despite catastrophic circumstances, which is why a Three Stooges feature, in which Curly tries to fix a spurting faucet, makes us laugh. Deep inside, we’re selfish enough to be delighted that this calamity happened to someone else.
- A plumbing problem can often reveal bigger problems that might have turned into disasters had a plumber not come to the rescue.
Audiences never stopped laughing when iconic silent screen star Buster Keaton arrived at a mansion to fix a small plumbing problem that proved to be just the start of a huge one. In the end, he fell in love with his customer, which leads to the obvious question: Could Match.com bring a well-heeled plumber into your life?
- Plumbers are inventive, discreet and spontaneous.
If you’ve never seen little-known actor Victor Moore tackle a bathtub dilemma on the screen as a half-naked Marilyn Monroe engaged him in conversation, you missed a gem. But what’s so unusual about this scenario? Plumbers are used to finding customers in varying stages of undress, particularly if a shower is disrupted, which is why a nonplussed face is a requirement for those in this profession.
- Plumbers come in all shapes, sizes and skills.
You, of course, want one that is able to bend over artfully to take care of your problem without the slightest hint of a butt crack. You’d like your contractor to be trim enough to fit into the tiniest bathroom without getting wedged between the sink and tub, and if you’re a woman, it couldn’t hurt if the dude with the wrench happens to be James Denton, the much-drooled-over fictional plumber on the TV series “Desperate Housewives.”
- Plumbing equipment can be as funny as the guys who come to repair it.
You probably never heard of John Harrington, but you should invoke his name every time you race to the bathroom because he invented the white throne in 1596, which begs the question, “How come nobody make a movie about him?” On that note, “How did Thomas Crapper become so famous when he didn’t invent a thing?” (Cool side note: Game of Thrones heartthrob, Kit Harrington, is a distant relation to the inventor of the toilet!)
- Plenty of celebs once earned their livings as plumbers…
…so if you happen to be one of the people who called a local contractor to fix an emergency in your bathroom years ago, you may not have stopped and asked award-winning British actor Sir Michael Caine or lizard-decapitating rocker Ozzie Osbourne for an autograph. We take that back. You might recall Osbourne. It’s not too late to write each of them a note, thank them and get an autograph, by the way.
- Life really does imitate art!
Actor Bob Hoskins started off life as a professional plumber, so when he was cast as Mario the plumber in a Mario Brothers film, nobody had to show him how to feed a snake down a drain or stand back from newly-removed toilet when it’s pulled from its base. Unfortunately, Hoskins couldn’t even show off his expertise, because producers hired him to screw things up not fix them!
- It’s okay to “suspend belief” when facing reality.
Let’s say Popeye arrives at your home wearing a plumber’s uniform and carrying tools of the trade, just as he did in the past when he tried to fix Olive Oyl’s faucet drip and wound up destroying her plumbing. Would you call him one dimensional? Of course not.
If Hollywood decides to launch a reality show starring real life plumbers, we would like to see them rewarded big time for saving our derrieres, literally and figuratively! The wacky antics and colorful characters at Mr. Plumber would make for great primetime TV!