The Boiled Frog Fable
“They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,
it will leap out right away to escape the danger.
But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant, and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling, the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.
The frog’s survival instincts are geared towards detecting sudden changes.”
For Valentine’s Day, above and beyond the sweet cards and thoughtful romantic gestures, I received one of the ultimate tokens of love a man can give. My husband tackled something that’s been lurking up at the top of my Honey Do List.
He unplugged my bathroom sink.
While his sink drains happily unencumbered, swiftly out to the Pacific Ocean, mine is so stopped up at this point that even brushing my teeth or a simple hand washing fills the basin and takes several minutes to empty. It has for five years.
As a result, there is always a thin layer of slimy, soapy scum that lines the inside of my sink every time I use it. Rinsing it out is a complete act of futility.
Let water drain. Swish clean water around. Wait for it to drain. Repeat. Again and again until you bang your forehead repeatedly on the porcelain — or the sink is clean — whichever comes first.
We’ve both attempted all the usual quick fixes for a slow drain, with gratifying, but alas, temporary results. The clog was beyond the P-trap, inside the wall. This called for desperate measures – hence my Valentines Day request. “Baby, will you PLEASE fix my sink?”
When the time came, he showed up with all the prerequisite tools of the trade, wrenches, a bucket and towel. My husband is nothing if not deliberate. He slowly and carefully loosened the joints, making sure that the bucket, resting on a beach towel, was set in position to catch any debris. When he had everything open to the wall he stuck his face, glasses at the tip of his nose, up to the open pipe in order to get a good look inside. I could tell by his determined walk back to retrieve MORE tools, that he was up against an extremely foul foe. There was one hell of a disgusting hair, gel, and toothpaste, mouthwash, hand cream, and orchid moss monster clog that inhabited that pipe.
When he returned, he was lookin’ kinda sexy, armed with gloves and a screwdriver looking thingy, I offered to run the garden hose inside the bathroom, “to flush the little fucker out to sea.”
He looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. “I’ve got this” was his dry reply.
Shit, shit, shit. Note to self: You know better than to stick your nose into a Honey Do List repair. Especially a Valentines Day Special. Back away. Slooowly.
After about half an hour, he emerged triumphant. “Go run the water” he said, following me back into the bathroom so he could see my reaction.
I washed my hands, and the thirty seconds that it used to take for the water to back up, came and went. I stared at the perfectly functioning drain – as if a miracle had occurred. “I can’t remember the last time the water drained so fast” (in other words exactly as it was designed to do.) I reached over and gave him a big hug. “I’m serious, this sink has been backed up for as long as I can remember”
He gathered his tools and as he walked away he shared this little nugget: “It’s just like the boiled frog.” It was so out of context it took me a minute.
“You’re right, it is!” I yelled down the hall.
God, who made the sexy, makeshift, philosophical plumber so smart? And why in the hell do I keep doing this to myself?
Remember my sad excuse for a smart-phone? It was so old and decrepit, so tired from all of the demands that I laid on it, that in the end all it could accomplish – was to be a phone. And it wasn’t even good at that. Wah,Wah. The End. New phone. Nirvana!
The boiled frog!
There’s no danger I need to escape – just annoying bullshit. I’m the frog, sitting happily in water where the boiling point is so gradual, slow, and subtle, it just becomes…an aggravating part of life. Now as I write this I’m taking a mental inventory of other boiling frogs that are causing me grief. I declare 2015 the end of BOILED FROGS!
What are your boiled frog situations? I know you have them. Confess.