14. Water Under the Sink
Ed came home from his errands and put the groceries into the cupboard and the refrigerator. He grabbed a flathead screwdriver and a pair of pliers from his toolbox. In the kitchen, he got down on his hands and knees and turned on the flashlight. After a couple of minutes of looking, he decided what to do. He had never opened up a disposal before, but there is a first time for everything.
The cylindrical disposal was about 7 inches in diameter and had a horizontal seam dividing the top half from the bottom half. The halves were held together by three screws. Ed jiggled the bottom half of the disposal; it was loose because two of the three screws were corroded. Only one screw was still doing its duty. Ed unscrewed it.
The bottom half of the disposal was now lying on the cabinet floor. Ed thought for sure that it would be full of months-old food, but there was no food, only a hardened, torn, useless gasket. The next day Ed went to the hardware store to buy some screws and a new gasket. The employee told him that they did not carry those gaskets and suggested that he write to the manufacturer. Ed returned home. He created his own gasket by using gasket sealant that comes in a tube. He applied the sealant, screwed the two halves back together, and crossed his fingers.
The next day he turned on the water and switched on the disposal. When he saw the water pouring out of the seam, Ed knew one thing: it was time to buy a new disposal. The good thing was that new disposals started at $79. The bad thing was that it would have to be installed by a plumber. Plumber rates started at about $80 an hour. Ed decided that since the disposal used a lot of energy and the world needed to use less energy, from now on he would put his scraps into the kitchen garbage bag. He reminded himself to tell everyone at work tomorrow about how he was now helping to solve the world's energy problems.
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