The guy on the YouTube video made it look so easy. He performed each step smoothly and without hitch or incident. The old, worn parts easily detached from the pipes, and the new parts fit together snuggly without struggle.
He smiled throughout the demonstration, and his shirt was as clean and unruffled at the end as it was at the beginning.
Comments posted at the bottom included “Took me under an hour” and “Saved $400 by not calling a plumber.” I shut down the computer feeling very positive and encouraged. Right then I should have realized I was headed for trouble.
Was it dumb luck or was it a gift that caused me to open the doors under the kitchen sink last Monday? All I know is water was puddling and just a fraction of an inch from spilling out onto the kitchen floor. After cleaning the mess, I ran some water in the sink. I determined we had a leaking garbage disposal.
Well, we were snowed in, so a visit to the hardware store was out. We would have to live with it for a while.
After both my wife and I absentmindedly ran water into the side of the sink with the leak, I scrawled “Don’t Use Sink” on a board and covered the hole hoping that might get our attention. Two days later I managed to get out of our driveway and slip and slide to the store, where I bought a new garbage disposal — and then I watched the do-it-yourself video.
I admit right off that I am not particularly good at home-repair projects. My DNA does not carry the DIY gene. Normally I try to ignore such repairs as long as the house is not collapsing around us, but this problem would not be denied. So I got on my back and slithered through the cabinet doors.
After more than two hours, I emerged from the dark underbelly of the sink. Yes, the disposal was replaced, but I was neither clean nor unruffled, and I certainly wasn’t smiling. Once again I had been taken in and played for a fool by Modern Media. Stupid Internet.
Later, as I was assessing the damage to my body and my spirit, I imagined what a true-to-life video on replacing a garbage disposal made for inept home-repair people might look like.
Scene 1: Man grimaces as pain shoots through his back and neck while crawling under sink.
Scene 7: Man crawls out of cabinet to fetch a screwdriver.
Scene 10: Man staunches blood from knuckles after repeated attempts to loosen ring holding disposal unit.
Scene 14: Man crawls out of cabinet to fetch a shorter screwdriver.
Scene 21: Man crawls out of cabinet to fetch a can of WD-40 to loosen ring holding disposal unit.
Scene 25: Man curses as disposal unit leaks unknown liquid onto face.
Scene 29: Man crawls out of cabinet to fetch a hammer and the original screwdriver.
Scene 30: Man curses as hammer misses target and hits finger.
Scene 31: Man sighs as he realizes it has taken an hour to remove old unit.
Scene 35: Man becomes distracted rolling plumber’s putty into snake-shapes.
Scene 38: Man crawls out of cabinet to fetch needle-nose pliers to twist stubborn electrical wires into place.
Scene 40: Man is pretty sure he shut off electricity before he started.
Scene 43: Man finally gets water pipes aligned then realizes he forgot to attach important washer.
Scene 46: After double-checking his work, man says small prayer as he turns on faucet to check for leaks.
Scene 47: Man switches on disposal to see if it works.
Scene 48: Man goes downstairs to switch on electricity.
Scene 50: Man collapses in chair and opens ibuprofen bottle.
I think there might be an audience for such a video. I would make it myself and upload it to YouTube, but I always get confused when I try that stuff. I would probably mess it up.
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.