All the time I hear people say things like, “My family means everything to me,” or “I’d do anything for my family,” and when I hear things like that, I don’t know whether to be envious of such stellar family relationships or suspicious of so many liars.
Believe me, I love my family and have already done a helluva lot for them, and with any luck I’ll do a helluva lot more. But despite an abiding love for my kinfolks, I know within me lurks a personal “bridge too far,” or a “last mile” I will not walk.
And where is my personal line in the sand? It’s drawn clearly at the feet of Uncle Frank.
By now the people who know me are saying, “But you don’t even have an Uncle Frank!” and while that is most definitely true, I can tell you that if I did have an Uncle Frank, he wouldn’t be welcome in my house.
Maybe I better explain.
Regular readers of this blog already know I’m frittering my life away in a part-time job at a Big Orange retailer, not unlike the one near you. But what you didn’t know is that one of the sickest things about my job is that I actually tend to notice when a new item shows up on the shelves. In a store with literally thousands upon thousands of products, one sure sign that you’ve been there too long is when you start seeing things with a certainty that you’ve never seen them before.
That’s what it was like a few weeks ago when my eyes fell on a box in the plumbing department. Small though it was, hidden amongst the flappers, floats, fill tubes, chrome handles and pull chains, I knew I’d have spotted it if it had been there before. In fact, it was impossible to miss.
I pulled down the box and examined it. Below the product name, Secure A Tank, was a sentence in quotation marks, “Secure Your Tank Before Uncle Frank …” and just like the marketers intended, my first reaction was “WTF???”
When I turned the box around, everything became clear, because pictured there was Uncle Frank, grinding away in a scene I won’t soon forget.
Just like its name suggests, Secure A Tank allows homeowners to bulk up their toilet tanks against the depredations of a Leaner.
If you don’t know what a Leaner is, take one look at Uncle Frank and it should clear things up for you. Just look at him sitting there, bearing down hard and leaning back for leverage like he’s riding your favorite La-Z-Boy recliner instead of the throne in the guest bathroom.
Of course the worst thing about a guy like Uncle Frank is that he’s so intent on passing the cinder block that’s wedged inside his rectum that he’s Hi-Ho Silvering to the point of shattering the porcelain toilet tank, leaving you with costly replacement parts, water damage, and a yuuuuge plumbing bill.
And there’s one more thing you probably haven’t thought about, and that is the other enormous problem Uncle Frank left inside the bowl. No doubt he closed the lid on that hellspawn for you to find later, because there’s no way a toilet with a shattered tank is ever going to flush.
Of course thinking about that grisly scenario is exactly what the makers of Secure A Tank want you to do. You’ll pay any price to prevent a nightmare like the one that could be emerging at any moment from the engorged bowels of your very own Uncle Frank, won’t you?
What? Really??? You’re gonna spend good money for two little hunks of plastic in the vain hope that you can defend your castle against a guy like him?
Listen, if you’ve got an Uncle Frank in your family — and I’m betting word has already gotten around about him during family reunions or in whispered phone conversations among cousins — just tell him your facilities are off limits and to take his toxic badness to the Getty station down the road!
So see, as a matter of fact, I won’t do anything for my family, and refusing to buy a Secure A Tank proves it. I’ve drawn my line in the sand: Uncle Frank, you are NOT welcome here!