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An emerging pattern

Whenever I claim to be good at some everyday task, I immediately fail at it. A recent example occured while I was eating with The Girlfriend and my friend Mike — I poured a margarita for The Girlfriend from the pitcher and bragged that I managed to spare her any ice, and then immediately had a flood of ice when pouring Mike’s. Similarly, I came up with the idea that The Girlfriend’s dog obeys me more because he finds a man’s voice more authoritative, and he of course ignored me the rest of the day.

In other news, inspired by a scene in Mad Men, I’ve begun using a plunger to de-clog sinks as a first line of defense in place of Drano. At the risk of causing it not to work any longer, it’s been going great. I managed to get both my bathtub and my bathroom sink to drain quickly (they were very slow when I first moved in) and I de-clogged the garbage-disposal side of The Girlfriend’s kitchen sink after clogging it myself through over-zealous disposal of garbage.

The secret is that once you get a good seal, you need to plunge rapidly for kind of a long time: it’s not just one or two and you’re done. I find that the vigorous motion makes the whole thing more satisfying — it’s like you’re taking out your anger against the clog, and then you finally defeat it. When I de-clogged The Girlfriend’s sink, for instance, I shouted, “Vengeance is mine!”

In yet other news, I’ve made two major purchases since getting paid: a new pair of shoes and a full compliment of socks and underwear. The shoes in particular are very exciting. I’ve looked over them thoroughly and have confirmed that they don’t have a hole in the bottom, which will be a major improvement.

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October 5, 2009 - Posted by | observational humor

17 Comments

  1. That’s a great tip.

    Speaking of Mad Men, we just started watching it on DVD. The first 2 episodes were great at shocking me about how upside down the world was in 1960. The smoking and drinking were the least of it.

    Comment by Rob B | October 5, 2009

  2. Why are you doing this to yourself? You’re proclaiming yourself -good at unclogging sinks.- The gods will strike you down inside of a week–I guarantee you’re going to have to call a plumber to get a nest of dead squirrels out of your shower drain or something.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | October 5, 2009

  3. The secret is that once you get a good seal, you need to plunge rapidly for kind of a long time: it’s not just one or two and you’re done. I find that the vigorous motion makes the whole thing more satisfying

    Quite so.

    Also, what you got was a full complement of socks and underwear.

    Comment by ben | October 5, 2009

  4. Also, what you got was a full complement of socks and underwear.

    Maybe he means that he paid someone to pay him a compliment—and a full one at that, not some wussy half compliment—and that person chose to compliment him by delivering him a full complement of socks and underwear?

    Comment by transportinburma | October 5, 2009

  5. I think the bigger question is what constitutes a “full complement” of socks and underwear for Adam Kotsko. One pair of each for each day of the week? Enough to go two weeks without doing the laundry?

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | October 5, 2009

  6. “I think the bigger question is what constitutes a “full complement” of socks and underwear for Adam Kotsko. One pair of each for each day of the week? Enough to go two weeks without doing the laundry?”

    Enough tube socks and underoos so that he never has to do laundry outside of an annual trek to his mother. Well, that’s MY definition of a full complement.

    Comment by burritoboy | October 5, 2009

  7. A plumber once told me to boil a big pot of water and pour it down my slow drain. He said I’d never need Drano if I would repeat the procedure once a month. I’ve been doing so for several years now and it works great.

    Comment by Dennis Garland | October 5, 2009

  8. Never underestimate the power of shoes to ward off nihilism. I think this purchase is a good thing.

    Comment by d barber | October 5, 2009

  9. my pattern is i usually fail when do something the first time around, then repeat it after some time and succeed without particularly working on the thing, so i think i still work on it like subconsciously
    unclogging things are one of the worst things i hate, usually call the plumber
    the freckle is gone, i was biting it maybe, so now afraid it will return more malignant due to irritation or something

    Comment by read | October 5, 2009

  10. This morning, while putting on my new shoes (boot-style), I pulled on the little leather loop on the back and it ripped. I’m so pissed off — I didn’t have time to go back to the store before getting on the train to Kzoo. I’m considering just cutting the loop off of both sides; hot glue may also present itself as an option.

    A “full complement” is being able to go two weeks without being forced to do laundry by lack of underwear.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | October 5, 2009

  11. As for jinxing myself, I don’t think that violently plunging a sink for five to ten minutes at a stretch counts as being “good at something.”

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | October 5, 2009

  12. After too much dysphoria of various kinds, this post was the perfect antidote. Thank you, Adam! Furthermore I hope your book will single-handedly prevent annoying future generalisations about Zero Books…

    Comment by infinite thought | October 5, 2009

  13. It is so satisfying to count all my clean socks and underwear after I wash my laundry. I do this every time, even though I know exactly how many sets of socks and underwear I have — I feel like Scrooge McDuck counting his piles of gold coins. I like to call it a “full fleet” rather than a complement.

    Comment by jms | October 5, 2009

  14. “Never underestimate the power of shoes to ward off nihilism. I think this purchase is a good thing.” – D Barber

    I had this experience last week with a new jacket.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | October 5, 2009

  15. i bought an iphone case this weekend and think i need to cut off its front flapping side too, b/c with it it feels heavy, but then the half of its price will be gone too
    i wanted a fabric one, not leather, the leather one is expensive 50$ for a case! and it smells of something acidic, but there were no any fabric cases, and the plastic ones i didn’t like coz their feeling is the same sweaty with the without the case phone
    so i think someone could make good money if produces the fabric cases for iphones
    that is also a pattern, always feel the thing like really belongs to me after modifying something in it, sometimes it just gets spoilt, some scratch or any other defect
    but i could return the sandals this summer after wearing it one day, got blisters, the sales person looked at the blisters and took the sandals back

    Comment by read | October 5, 2009

  16. inadvertently spoilt, not for the purpose of course
    them

    Comment by read | October 5, 2009

  17. IT, Yeah, Ads’s post scared me a little bit, but I got over it. Awkwardness really is the way to overthrow capitalism, after all.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | October 5, 2009


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