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It's A'Me, Andy!


The evening was tense, and the air was heated. She looked at me, I looked at her. Sweat was heavy on my brow as I made my move. Slow and calculated, I took my time. R-A-T, I set the three letter tiles down on the Scrabble board right next to the bottom S in her SMARTS she had just played. Yes, RATS was the best I could do. She chuckled as she noted my amazing score of six on the score pad. I was loosing, she has a score of 239, and I had a score of now 86. “How is it you write, yet you’re so terrible at Scrabble?” she asked.

“It’s one of the great mysteries of our time, a full segment will be devoted to the topic on ’60 Minutes’ sometime shortly.” I told her. It still baffles me, and anyone who has ever played Scrabble with me. Scrabble, Boggle, and any type of word search game I’m not great at. Yet give me a word association game, like that old beat up “$25,000 Pyramid” home game I still drag to parties, and I’m golden. “Pardon me, I’m going to run to the bathroom.” She excused herself and left the room, I stood up to stretch my legs, took my phone out of my pocket, and did a quick check of Twitter.

“Hmm, 19% battery life. Should have charged the phone a little while in the car on my way over” I thought to myself. I was just about to read an article on time.com about the habits of Erwin school teachers when she returned. The game continued. She was calm, cool, and collected as she studied the board. She hummed lightly to herself as she placed her tiles down on the game board. She built off the T I played and down came Q-U-A-R, QUART, a triple word score. 37 points.

She rotated the board towards me, smiled, and wrote her score down. I looked at the board, then looked at my tiles. U-R-V-I-T-L-Z is what I had. I was trying to appear calm, cool, and collected. Though inside I found myself thinking “Dammit. Dammit all. Dammit all to hell” over and over again. This led me to feel more of a fool when I realized my panic caused me to miss I had the perfect chance to play VITAL. I played it, building off the A in her QUART. I managed to pull a game record 18 points for myself, thanks to a double letter score.

Still behind by a good number of points, I rotated the game board back to her with a sense of accomplishment. She glanced it over again, her humming started, then slowly quieted as she looked up and away from the game board. She tilted her head, ever so slightly, with an inquisitive look on her face. “Do you hear that?” she asked. I listened, and I did. “Yeah, it sounds like water running.”

“Sounds like it’s coming from the bathroom, I’ll go check it!” As someone who likes to think he’s moderately well rounded when it comes to being handy, and wanting to impress her, I was quick to offer my help. Upon entering the bathroom I noticed that the toilet was still running. I did what anyone would do, which is to stand there staring at it for a minute. “What is it?” she yelled from the other room. “The toilet, but don’t worry, I can fix it!”

There was a long pause. “Are you sure?” In a rare display, my ego allowed Super Bad Cool Andy to appear, I said with confidence “Of course! It doesn’t appear to be anything major as far as I can tell. You know, I happen to know a thing or two about a thing or two.” My brain immediately questioned the last part of that statement “Good one, Grandpa” it said. The first thing I did was turn the water supply to the toilet off. Whilst doing so, visions of The Three Stooges plumbing filled my mind. Would I somehow cause water to come gushing out of her TV? I hoped not, but it was all I could think about.

The one great benefit I found in this situation was the fact that there is a device in my pocket capable of pulling up the entirety of humanity’s knowledge. I took the phone out of my pocket, and said “Siri, can you find me information on how to fix a running toilet?” Sometimes Siri doesn’t really understand what you say, and sometimes you’re unaware that the volume on your phone is set at full blast. So, at a volume that I’m pretty certain was audible in the other room, Siri says to me “Sorry, Andy. There’s no music in your library called ‘Plumb Those Pipes, Baby.’ However, I did find several videos online matching that description.”

“Dammit!” I said out loud as I fumbled to lower the volume/put the phone back in my pocket. Deciding to try my own resources, I confidently walked over to the toilet and began to jiggle the handle. Nothing happened. I jiggled the handle again. No air bubbles or balloons or anything that I was thinking would happen to a toilet that I had shut the water off to. I took the lid off the back of the toilet and looked, It was half full of water, but that didn’t tell me anything.

I reached down and turned the water supply back on. This time, I had a bird’s eye view of the tank, and I soon noticed what the issue was. The air bubble that keeps the water from overflowing was stuck. It appeared to have slipped off a piece, preventing it from rising to the top and shutting the valve off. I turned the water supply off again, jiggled the handle again, and it flushed the toilet. I now had an empty tank to work with.

I washed my hands, took my phone out again, but relied on google to help me this time. “How Do You Fix The Bobber In a Toilet Tank?” I had no clue what the technical term was, but Google understood me. What I also didn’t know, was that the episode with Siri had drained my battery even further. I would have to act quick in finding the answer as I had 7% battery life left.

I hadn’t connected to her wifi, I didn’t want to seem that I was there to just keep an eye on my phone all night. My phone strained even harder to keep its network connection, more battery life was going. I had just read enough to have a basic understanding of all the works, when I heard footsteps coming my way. In my desperation to seem cool and full of knowledge, I tossed my phone in to the bathtub behind me, then stood over the tank looking with deep intent in my eyes.

I made a loud cough to cover the sound of the phone hitting the tub, praying my phone’s case was sturdy. She walked into the bathroom and stood beside me. She looked down at the tank “Any idea what it is?” I looked at her and said “Oh, yeah, sure! It’s, uh, your bobber is the off the thing. It’s, um, not bobbing correctly. Preventing the thingy from uh, stopping the things.” “I see” she said. I smiled “I’ll have this fixed in no time.”

She stayed standing next to me as I reached in to actually fix it. I felt the seed of a panic attack begin to form inside my stomach. I fiddled with a rod that connects the bobber. After a while, I must have dislodged whatever was stuck, as the bobber dropped to the bottom of the tank. “Ah. That should do it” I said. I reached down and turned the water back on, we both watched the tank fill up. I’m sure I was more anxious than she was, but the bobber began to rise then shut the water off as it should. I flushed the toilet, it worked. No problems at all.

She was impressed. She left the bathroom as I washed my hands, I then quietly picked my phone up from the tub—which had survived its toss. We returned to our Scrabble game, and I felt more confident about myself, despite the fact that my last play of the game was the amazing word of CAT. Needless to say, she beat me with a score that was almost triple mine. Bad at Scrabble, decent at light plumbing. My gifts to the world. 

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