Just a short time after the arrival of local Internet access, Tom’s kitchen sink garbage disposal died. Tom, renting a small studio apartment from my father that we dubbed “The Quarters,” appealed to my responsibility to address such problems that arose.


Tom and I became close friends after learning we had both gone through undergraduate pilot training during the late 70s at the same base in Texas. Unlike Tom, who served twenty years in the USAF before retiring, my choice was returning to civilian life after serving seven years. On a weekly basis we spent time together reminiscing about the “good-old-flying-days.” It was entertaining discussing personal stories about outwitting the “Grim-Reaper,” saving from harm our crew members, and managing to pass annual flight proficiency rides under terrible weather conditions.


Now, we were living 100 yards from each other both of us trying out the new Internet toy, E-mail. (Big kids playing with expensive toys). Tom sent an E-mail informing me his disposal was malfunctioning and asking me to take a look at it. His description said it all, replacement. My E-mail response to his “take a look at it” was to ask for the make and model number on the unit. Later that evening the following verbatim E-mail message appeared on my computer:


“Dear Steve,


No, it’s not a cookbook; it’s not even a tell-scandal story of a bachelor in the kitchen. This is the plain old vanilla saga of a fifty-year-old trying on several different pairs of glasses while manipulating a flashlight, a mirror and a beam of light within the confines of two small cabinet doors, on his backside, and managing to obtain the following data from his disposal unit which weren’t too terribly visible in the 2.5 inch focal range unless you were a church mouse living on the other side of that garbage disposal who’d attended services there for several months or even more, and then and only then those church services had been about the light and the truth, and not about the obsequious mysteries and darkness and dampness and the odoriferous sort of hell I believed I was squirming in.


This was all very neat and precisely done until the minor image of the data appeared on my minor in dazzling flashlight black and orange contrasts. Of course any tiny movement in the flashlight or the mirror or the not-so-fine lenses I was exchanging made the discovery of the Saturn Rings even simpler than the fine tuning and finely done twisting I accomplished on such a day as this. There is probably a patron saint of miners in Kentucky or Italian Alps somewhere to whom I should have been praying. Even an old bishop of that sort could have given more confidence than the brewery-like smells and cavern-like conditions into which I was immersed headfirst. They don’t do this to people like me at Lourdes. They just refuse me all services. Catholics can be exclusionary folk, despite the universality imbedded in the work itself. Summoning what courage remained amidst such mental renditions, I persisted.


Was there a pea in your pod, dear queen and was that why the featherbed was so uncomfortable? Such thought tormented me as I hung in there and twisted and focused and copied and tried to translate the minor image I was reading. There it was… after several tries.., seemingly validated by several almost the same viewings. I am told there is a prophet in the Old Testament to whom a dog could speak human language. Either could have been more practical today than my Army roto-rooter skills application efforts, since either the dog or the saint could have simply asked the mouse for such data. May such data provide you all the comfort and information you desire as I cursed the darkness, hoping as usual as you friend to be forgiven and returned to the light and all graciousness and good company and fellowship.


Bonnie, my sympathetic greyhound who always goes tummy up, and the way I was, for a tummy rub.. but whose breed was never denied a place on the Ark, as my thoughts might now preclude me from even so much as a presence near the Ark, or its biblical human and animal occupants. Probably thought I was burying a bone in there for her. She would have pulled me out, had I been impaled upon a fuse or extruding circuit breaker. Here then, in straight simplicity, is the data you may he seeking:


Sinkmaster Model 701

PO Box 4146

Anaheim, CA 95063

1/5 HP

4.5 amp

5900 RPM