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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Feeling stupid in the hardware store

There are two topics you can bring up if you ever want to make me feel stupid: cars and home improvement. I don't crawl under my car and change the oil myself. I have no desire to change the oil myself, and I wouldn't know how even if I did. And as for improving things around the home, I will put in a new light fixture and maybe even a new light bulb, but that's about it.

Still, as a guy, I like going to the hardware store -- any hardware store or home center. There's something about being surrounded by power tools and lumber that provides a boost to one's masculinity. However, on occasion, even the simplest errand reminds me of just how incompetent I really am.

Yesterday I went to a local home center to get a replacement sprinkler head for our in-ground sprinkler system. I even took the broken one so I could match it as closely as possible. I wandered around the lawn care section for what seemed like an eternity. I did notice a sign that said "sprinklers," but it was merely referring to the ones you attach to the business end of a garden hose. While it wasn't what I needed, I knew I had to be getting warm.

Come on! I thought to myself. You're can do this. It can't be that hard.

No luck.

Finally, admitting defeat, I tracked down an employee and approached him with a sense of trepidation. "Where can I find a replacement for this?" I asked, holding up my broken sprinkler head out of fear of not calling it by it's correct name and inviting condescending smirks from the other employees standing nearby. "Oh, that's over in plumbing," the gentlemen replied, in a matter-of-fact tone.

Plumbing! Of course! Silly me. Faucets. Sinks. Showers. Toilets. Outdoor sprinkler heads. It was so obvious that I felt like a fool for not thinking of it myself.

(And to think that the lawn care specialist who comes out every fall to winterize our sprinkler system must be laughing it up with his buddies. "You mean he doesn't call a plumber to take care of that? What an idiot!" "Hey, as long as he's willing to pay me to do it, who cares?")

I managed a sheepish "Thank you" and slunk away to the other side of the store, my ego bruised once again.

A modicum of self-esteem returned when I managed to get the thing into the ground and turn on the sprinkler system to make sure it worked. "Maybe I shouldn't feel too bad," I told myself. "At least I didn't have to cough up $300 for a plumber."

1 comment:

Ron Yatteau said...

At least you fixed it. Everyday when I drive to work I drive by a gas station that has an automatic sprinkler that sprays my car at the stop light. It's spraying the wrong way. I wish they would fix it. They waist water and if my car was just washed, it screws that up too. At least you fixed it!


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