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Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you’ll be a big-time celebrity …...

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I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

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Filed Under , on September 10th, 2011


By Seth Kabala

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you’ll be a big-time celebrity some day.

If you want to be popular in high school, you’ll have to throw an insane party, complete with scantily-clad (oh, screw that) not-clad-at-all girl-girl Vaseline kiddie-pool wrestling; healthy amounts of the finest herbs … and, uh, cheeses; and a naked Will Ferrell running past your house down the street.

Those are the ingredients to the perfect party and the perfect, unavoidable mess.

But fast-forward a few years to when you are married with kids and your definition of a “party” is one glass of wine, so as not to irritate your touchy bowel, and staying awake all the way ’til the end of Conan, which occurs at the witching, inhabited by spirits of darkness hour of 11p. When you get to this point, avoiding messes becomes an art in precognition.

We’ve been renovating the downstairs kitchen and bathroom, which involved, among other “fucking piece of shit”-laden activities, removing the toilet to install ceramic tile. Once that apocalypse passed, I went to re-install the toilet, discovered the new, higher floor made the water-line too short to reach the floor valve, and started shutting things down for the night. I’ll get it tomorrow, I thought of the flex-hose I needed.

Then … a vision.

An innocent porcelain toilet, soiled by the how-in-the-world-can-such-a-tiny-body-fit-all-that? aftermath of a hurried youth. Better than on the kitchen floor (well, I do still have that pooper-scooper. … Wait, what am I saying?), but still stuck in a land that’s shiny and smooth but has no functional fluid (am I saying Heidi Montag is really a toilet? Possibly). And it all could have been avoided by making access impossible.

So I wrapped the lid in painter’s tape, preventing use until I could get the flex-hose, hoping diarrhea-inducing chemical-warfare didn’t hit anytime soon.

The plan worked. The toilet didn’t leak. As far as writing style goes, that’s as boring a sentence structure as you can get, but do you realize how momentous an accomplishment that was? To, as a parent, have a plan, a home-improvement plan no less, play out as you predicted (well, predicted while laughing, but predicted all the same)?

(Guess I can hit the broad side of a barn. Knew those shit-throwing monkeys would come in handy some day. Protection from the fan. You might want to pick up a couple–monkeys, that is.)

That just doesn’t happen.

Somehow through the process of re-installing the toilet manage to re-route the city’s water supply through my open sewer drain pipe and create the first self-renewing waste geyser? Yeah, that’s more like it. That’s what I would have expected.

(Telegraphing the point in bold so you can skip straight here if you don’t want to read everything above. But if you do skip to here, you won’t understand, so HA!)

I also would have expected a different response from my five-year-old son regarding what he wanted for his next birthday than when Will said this upon seeing me unwrap the tape from the toilet:

“It’s like opening a birthday present.”

So there you have it–a little practice in precognition and a way to achieve substantial savings on future birthday presents.

Granted you’ll have to go through the “fucking piece of shit”-laden activities to get there, but you’ll do anything to save a buck, (cool machine voice: “vision loading”) won’t you?


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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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