The Plunger

Kelly’s first apartment was a dump. From the 3 inch crack between the front door and floor to the toilet that never flushed to the view (and scent) of the dumpsters outside her bedroom window – the place was a much like Tom Hanks’ home in the “The Money Pit.” I guess that’s just the way it is with apartments in college...

One magical day, Kelly’s toilet was functioning properly. Then, it wasn’t – if you catch my drift.

The unfortunate situation necessitated a trip to the 7th Circle of Hell – the Wal-Mart at New Hope Crossing in Durham.

As we entered the store, we discussed how neither one of us wanted to scavenge Wal-Mart for a plunger, parade to the register with our bounty, plunk it down (just the plunger, mind you), swipe our debit card, and walk out the proud owners of the latest clear-plastic-handled, bell plunger.

So, we decided to make a game of it – whoever found the plunger wouldn’t have to buy it; the "non-finder" would have to endure a walk of shame while bearing the humiliating symbol of plumbing misfortune.

Once we agreed on the terms, the race was on.

If my memory serves correctly – and both Kelly and my mother will attest to the fact that it always does - I found the plunger. We raced through the store yelling and squealing like two 8 year olds. I was in the lead, because I’m faster, because I knew where the hardware section was, and because I really wanted to see Kelly buy a plunger. Meanwhile, Kelly played it cool and just tried to keep up.

The decisive blow came when she began to follow me, but on the opposite end of the aisle. Once I spotted and raced towards the unwanted prize, she was already there because it was closer to her end of the row.

I bought the plunger. We still have it.