Monday, March 27, 2006

Poor man’s Cranium

It gives me great peace of mind to know that the pipes in our basement can withstand high-velocity impacts. I know this because when I’m doing laundry, I regularly test their structural integrity with my forehead.

My inspections will usually start with my wife Kara yelling something like this down the stairs: “The commercials are over -- 24’s back on!”

Upon hearing this, I rush to get my laundry turned over and hustle back up the stairs, because there are only about two main characters on the show that haven’t been killed off yet this season, and the clock is still beeping. The only characters with any longevity in the 24 time slot are Jack Bauer and Jared from the Subway commercials. Still, if I were Jared, and I knew that my commercial would be playing during 24, I’d let somebody else take a bite of the sandwich first, especially if I’d seen what happened to the Allstate guy.

The writers for 24 have absolutely no problem killing off the characters that helped to make the show popular. If the same writers had gotten their hands on a season of The Brady Bunch, Alice probably would have careened off a cliff in the Brady’s station wagon while Marcia simultaneously flatlined in the ICU on the opposite side of the split screen. Also, Greg would have gotten his first pimple.

So it’s imperative that I get back upstairs quickly, as nothing helps me unwind after a long day of work like watching my favorite TV characters inhale nerve gas and die a flopping, drooling death on the floor. It’s like chamomile tea for your soul.

I shovel handfuls of socks into the dryer with one hand, smack the dial with the other, kick the dryer door shut and turn to run towards the stairs, not once thinking about the low-hanging obstacles between my head and my destination.

You see, our house was built in the mid-1930s, at a time when a race of Hobbit-like creatures controlled vast swaths of what is now the northeastern United States. Four-foot tall basements were considered spacious and roomy back then; these creatures could freely go about their laundering needs in their tiny basements without fear of cranial collisions. For human-sized creatures, though, the situation is not nearly as forgiving.

The familiar sound of my skull connecting with a lead pipe, from the inside, is reminiscent of a soft melon dropping on a tile floor, except much more painful, and not nearly as good with breakfast. What Kara hears from the living room sounds something more like this: DONK! “Oh, sweet, sweet, Yosemite Sam on a popsicle stick! Ow!”

Clutching my head and lurching toward the stairs, I am tempted to unleash a torrent of expletives, but I don’t, mainly because I’ll be quoting myself in a family newspaper later. By the time I stumble back into the living room, Jack Bauer has already shot seven people in the thigh, and is torturing Jared from the Subway commercials with some sort of electrocution device.

“If I put two slices of American cheese on my sub, does it still have six grams of fat or less?” Jack says. “Tell me!”

“You don’t want to know what I know,” Jared replies. “Yee-oowww!” he howls as Jack cranks on the voltage momentarily.

Jack gets right in Jared’s face and says, “I haven’t eaten in five years. You do not want to mess with me.”

Jared is a quivering mess. “I don’t want it toasted. Oh, I don’t want it toasted,” he cries.

My head trauma makes it difficult to concentrate on the rest of the show, but I’m pretty sure that both Jack and Jared survive until the Ten O’Clock News, which is a pretty impressive feat
these days.

You can attempt to get a message through Mike Todd’s thick skull online at


  1. Ok - so that's how you knock some sense into yourself. DONK while doing your laundry. I'm still in shock over the fact that you do your own laundry.

    A virtual icepack to your noggin.

    Rock on

  2. I think it's wonderful that you have such a reciprocal relationship with your pipes.

    They give you peace of mind, then you give them a piece of your mind... sweet!

  3. “Oh, sweet, sweet, Yosemite Sam on a popsicle stick!"

    Dang, that was harsh, Mike! LOL

  4. Maybe you should paint the pipes flourescent orange... or cover them with foam... or maybe you should just learn to duck! LOL

    But can I just say that a man who does his own laundry is a hero in my book!

  5. good take on 24 and laundry.

    my basement steps are so steep and low I have to walk down them backwards leaning forward.(I don't think man was walking upright yet when my house was built.)

    also will miss yelling "There's Tony. Tony Almada. He's back. All right!!!" every season after he had quit or got framed. RIP

  6. 1) 24 sucks... it's a horrible show and Keifer Sutherland is a doofus (and a terrible actor to boot).

    2) I agree with Lauren, you should spend a few bucks at Lowes or Home Depot and pick up the foam insulators to put at those critical intersections where your head might cross a pipe. They slip on very quickly without any tools - cause we know you're not too handy with those tools.

    3) Speaking of tools, have you talked to Chiodo lately?