A few weeks ago, I offered a little advice to homeowners. I said, “Please call a plumber.” Based on years of personal (painful) experience, I simply was trying to share some wisdom with young, ambitious guys, especially the ones who recently received a new tool box for Christmas, and therefore truly believe they can tackle any home improvement or repair project.
After that column appeared in the newspaper, my good friend Mickey Blarney told me his lovely bride was annoyed with me. It seems Belinda Blarney took exception to the fact my column was directed only to men. “What about women who do plumbing projects?” Mickey said, quoting his wife.
“Um, it never occurred to me,” I replied. “I don’t know any women who do home plumbing projects. Probably because they’re too smart to wreak the kind of havoc we fellas often do.”
“Really?” I replied. “Can you get me her phone number? I might want to hire her for a couple of projects I’ve been putting off.”
I wasn’t trying to be sexist when I focused my column only on male homeowners. I suppose there are plenty of women who can successfully replace a faucet or solder some copper pipe or, yes, install a new toilet. I’ve just never met one. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever met any men who can do those tasks without turning a small leak into a raging flood. That’s why I wrote the original essay in the first place, with the sincere request, “Please call a plumber.”
I also suppose there are women plumbers with their P-1 license who are working for plumbing and heating contractors. Or maybe they own their own contracting companies. But again, I’ve never met one, at least if you don’t count Ralph on the TV program “Green Acres.” I’m starting to suspect that “Green Acres” was not a very realistic show, so maybe Mary Grace Canfield, the actress who played Ralph, was not a licensed contractor after all. On the other hand, I am certain that Eva Gabor’s character, Lisa, was spot-on realistic. I mean, there are Hungarian-born socialites living in Manhattan who move to rural pig farms all the time, right? Especially if there are pigs living there as smart as Arnold Ziffel.
Again, as I mentioned, when I wrote that column I was not trying to be sexist. Go ahead and say it: “You don’t even have to try, Bill.”
Speaking of old sitcoms and being sexist, go back and watch some episodes of “M*A*S*H,” especially from the earlier seasons, and tell me Hawkeye’s behavior toward women was just cute. Uh huh. Ol’ lovable Hawkeye was kind of the Harvey Weinstein of Korea, wasn’t he?
Anyway, if any other women out there besides Belinda Blarney were offended that my “Call a plumber” column was directed solely toward men, I apologize. If there are female homeowners who do plumbing projects, that’s great. No, wait. That’s not great. My main point still applies: call a plumber. After all, a woman wielding a pipe wrench can create just as big a leak as a man.