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WHAT’S SO FUNNY: Honey, I broke the house

I was out back with our dog Booker the other night performing a ritual we know as “high catch" "” throwing a baseball in the air and catching it myself while he walks around looking in bushes. It’s not productive, it’s just something we do.

On my last heave I gave the ball a little extra, and it went up and back, behind me, coming down near the house. I’d done that once before, and that ball had landed in the second-story gutter. This one looked like that one.

I didn’t want to run into the wall, so I let it drop. My old coach would have disapproved. I just stood and waited for it to land in the gutter.

Instead, it missed the gutter by inches and landed right bang on a PVC water pipe coming out of the house. I probably couldn’t do it again in 30 tries. The pipe broke, and water began flooding onto the ground in about the quantity you get when you run your bath.

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Booker came over to observe. Although it was dark I could see that the break occurred where two pipes met. I thought maybe I could fit them back together. I squatted down to try it.

When I put the pipes together the water exploded into my face and onto my clothes with that “Ffffsssssss!" sound you get when you spike a hose with your finger. The pipes didn’t join.

To show I wasn’t soft, I tried again to reattach them. Again I got the “Ffffssssssss!" in the face and all over my clothes, but the pipes still wouldn’t fit. Nor could I see why they wouldn’t, because whenever I joined them I was blinded by the spray.

I was pretty wet by now, and I felt Booker was losing confidence in me. I decided to give it one last long serious try "” after all, there’s not much difference between wet and super-wet "” so I jammed the two pipes together again and held them there, working to thread them. The result was a much more sustained, longer-lasting “Fffffffssssssssss!" Those of you who enjoy physical comedy would have liked it.

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Having established that the pipes wouldn’t reattach, I went into the house to tell Patti Jo what was new.

I was reluctant to do this. Every husband does a dumb thing now and then, but I’d been pushing my quota lately. I couldn’t keep it from her, though; the backyard was flooding, after all, and I looked as if I’d fallen off a yacht.

Her overall reaction when she saw me was amusement. I could understand it. I mean, I didn’t have to ask, “What are you laughing at?"

We turned the water off and the plumber came the next day. Telling him what happened, I felt a sense of grievance. The plumber never gets called in to see any of the smart things I do, and I think it gives him a false picture of what goes on around here.

Or maybe not.


SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed.


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