It shouldn’t happen to a plumber: Why we wince when we lift a toilet seat
As you can imagine, being called to deal with a blocked toilet or leakage problem is not a job that fills our hearts with joy.
You never know what you’re going to find, not to mention the fact that the customer often feels very embarrassed. And who can blame them? The loo in our home is sacred, and not something we want the outside world to see – no matter how clean it’s kept.
But, as much as the sight of a blocked toilet can easily turn the strongest of stomachs, that’s not really the thing that makes us plumbers wince. Oh, no. There’s something much more frightening to deal with – something that really is the bane of our professional lives.
So, what is it that fills our hearts with terror?
Blue tablets. Yes, those little things you place in the cistern to give the toilet a clean, every time you flush. Yes, they are convenient to use. Yes, they (arguably) give off a nice, fresh aroma upon flushing. And yes, once you’ve popped one in, you don’t need to worry about changing it again for several weeks.
I have a theory though: the blue dye used in those WC marvels can also double-up as fountain pen ink. You see, what you might not realise is just how difficult it is to wash that stuff off your skin. It doesn’t want to budge, and will often remain for a few days – not a good look.
When a member of my team is called out to such a job, he’s not thinking about bad smells, blockages, or broken bowl gaskets. No, he’s thinking: “I don’t want to go home this evening looking like Papa Smurf”.
Trust me, the initial lifting of that toilet seat is like trekking the first days of the Amazon rain forest – it’s just a huge unknown. “But, can’t you just use gloves?” I hear you ask. And the answer is: “yes, but…”.
Problem is, the blue dye gets everywhere. It is so crafty; it can even find its way to being a complement to your belly button fluff. Don’t ask me how it gets there, it just does.
Get that stuff on you, and you can be sure you won’t be sharing a bed with your partner for the next day or two.
There was even a time when I’d managed to get it down one side of my face, and had to attend a posh dinner function. You know, tuxedo, the whole bit. I looked like a blimming idiot – Charlotte has never been so embarrassed in all her life. I had to sit and make small talk with people I’d never even met before, knowing that they were thinking: “who is this madman with the weird face paint?”
So, to sum up: if you do use toilet tablets, please consider calling time on them.
If anything goes wrong, you could end up with a very disgruntled blue man in your home.