Tall tales, plumbing, 73 cents, lawyers

'Scientific experiment' might be slightly skewed

June 06, 1999|By JOE MURRAY

WASHINGTON -- A fellow I know, who has made a success of himself in his job as a journalist, and I were on our way to lunch when we stopped by the men's room on the floor of the building where he has offices.

I was washing my hands when he pointed out a large cap screw on a portion of plumbing.

"Do you know what would happen if we should take a screwdriver and pry away that cap?" he asked.

Before I could say that I didn't, he told me.

"It would result in such a force of water that it could not be stemmed until a team of factory-trained, craftsmen plumbers were called forth to undo the damage we had created."

And then he giggled.

I didn't want to, but I had to ask how he happened to have acquired such knowledge.

"I learned it in college," he said, smirking, "That's what we would do in the men's room of the administration building, and then run like the dickens."

"But you don't do that sort of thing anymore, do you?" I asked, readying myself to run like the dickens.

"No, I don't," he said. And then he told me what it is that he does now.

From one time to another, as he stops by the men's room to and from his office, he drops a bit of change into the basin of the wall-mounted, male-engineered device of his choice, as if it were a wishing well.

"And the purpose of this is to clog up the pipes?" I asked.

"Not at all," he explained, shaking his head. "They simply remain there from day to day."

And from day to day, he keeps adding nickels, dimes, quarters, even pennies.

The purpose being ... ?

"It's a scientific experiment," he said. "How much money will it take for someone to reach their hand into the basin and fish out the change?"

In case you're interested, the top price so far has been 73 cents.

But the results of the experiment might be slightly skewed because the only other office on the floor with access to the men's room is a law firm.

Joe Murray is senior writer for Cox Newspapers.

Pub Date: 06/06/99

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