The Soupster learns about rules and jokes.
Originally published July 13, 2006
Buh-BANG! Buh-BANG!! rang the pipes in the Soupster’s house.
“There it is!” said the Soupster to Stace, the veterinarian. “That’s the sound that’s been plaguing me.” He placed on his kitchen table two glasses of blueberry-flavored milk Stace had brought. “I can’t believe you drink this stuff.”
“It’s water hammer,” said Stace. “And do you want to fix your plumbing or make something out of what I drink?”
Noxious as the blueberry-milk was, the Soupster sipped, so as not to have to answer.
“Water hammer,” Stace, the veterinarian, continued. “Sudden pressure changes in the pipes. Usually happens when you turn off a tap suddenly and you hear that bang, bang, bang.”
“We used to have an outdoor faucet that stuck way out far from the wall,” said the Soupster. “When you closed it fast, you’d not only hear that banging, the pipe would move crazily up and down.”
“That’s water hammer,” said Stace.
“But I’m not closing a tap,” said the Soupster.
“You must have a leak somewhere. Only so many places it could be,” said Stace, draining her glass and indicating for the Soupster to do the same.
The two friends checked three outdoor taps, the intake pipes for a clothes washer presently in use, the drainage pipes for another washer, no longer in use, and both the intake and drainage pipes of an old dishwasher.
“How do you know so much about plumbing?” asked the Soupster. “You’re a veterinarian.”
“There’s rules for everything, you just have to learn them,” Stace said. “Learn those rules and you can figure everything out. Even the way water runs through pipes.”
“There are some things that have no rules,” insisted the Soupster, as he and Stace mounted the stairs to the second floor. “Like…love or…humor.”
“Don’t go all Aristotle on me, Soupster,” said Stace. “But since you mention it — let’s take humor — which, for your information, has all kind of rules.
“There’s the `Rule of Three,’ which says the punch line is always on the third example. There are rules for exaggeration humor and unfortunate visitor jokes. There’s my favorite — the unexpected answer. But aren’t we here to fix the plumbing?” and she stepped into the upstairs bathroom.
“Eureka, Aristotle!” Stace cried. “I found your leak! You’re going to need to fix a seal in your toilet. I guarantee that your water hammer will then disappear.”
“Ask a veterinarian to help you with plumbing and get a lecture on the rules of joke telling,” muttered the Soupster. “Only in Our Town.”
“Hey, Doc,” the Soupster said aloud. “Do you think I should get a second opinion?”
“Okay,” said Stace. “You’re ugly, too.”