Defusing The Urinal
Wednesday - December 01, 2010
You probably don’t know this, but our MidWeek editorial staff is the only one left at our Kaneohe office until we move to Honolulu in early 2011. The building is pretty much vacant and it feels weird without the sound of presses running, especially after 23 years.
One of the inconveniences is that we have no on-site support help for stuff like night janitorial and building maintenance. For the most part, I’m the guy. Last week my skills were truly put to the test.
I was at home when, at 11 p.m., my cell phone started ringing. I answered, and it was our night shift newspaper layout person. I could detect from his voice that he was panicked. When I asked what was wrong, I noticed that he was trying to speak over the sound of rushing water. He exclaimed, “Ron, the second floor urinal won’t stop!”
He took a breath, “And the water is flooding all over the place, headed toward your office!” I suddenly turned into Jack Bauer from the TV show 24. I slowly and confidently gave the following instructions: “Face the urinal and look at the flush handle. Approximately four inches to the right of that is a screw cap. With your free hand, turn the cap counterclockwise until it comes off.
“Use a key or a coin from your right-hand pocket and stick it into the slot in the center. I’m going to have you turn it until the water cuts off.” I could-n’t remember if it should be turned left or turned right. I heard him yell over the phone, “Ron, what do I do now? Do I cut it left or cut it right?”
I asked him to read me the make of the urinal, was it American or Japanese? “Toto,” he said, which is Japanese, so since the Japanese read from right to left, I told him to cut it right. The water stopped. He said, “Thanks Ron, you saved my life.” To which I replied, “Just doing my job.”
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