Too many pickles

This apartment has a garbage disposal in the sink, but it hasn’t worked in years. When food goes bad, I don’t want to chuck it in the trash cuz that would stink and attract flies and bugs and such, so I routinely flush bad food down that toilet. This works fine for moldy soup and noodley leftovers. For bigger things like rotting fish fillets or forgotten hamburgers, I chop 'em up before flushing them away.

It's a system that works splendidly, except when it doesn't.

We once found an ancient jar of pickles way in the back of the fridge. The color of the liquid in the jar had changed from green to yellow, and the pickles looked unappealing and wrong and were two years past their expiration date. Well, each individual pickle was less than the size of an ordinary turd, and turds go down the toilet just fine, so I didn’t hesitate or even think. I simply dumped the pickles into the toilet and flushed.

As the toilet’s water-level rose and water began splashing onto the bathroom floor, it occurred to me that, yeah, turds flush, and you can probably flush anything turd-sized, but nobody plops a pickle-jar’s worth of turds all at once. I was standing in an inch of toilet-and-pickle water.

I’m handy with a plunger, but the plunger pulled only a few pickles out of the pipes, and every attempted flush poured more water onto the floor. A cluster of pickles was packed deep in the pipe, farther than I could see or reach, and those pickles weren’t coming loose. (See the accompanying illustration, with pickles hand-painted by me.)

Our apartment has only one bathroom with one toilet, so at this point, of course, my wife had to go to the bathroom. She used our spare toilet in the living room, while I googled around for a solution, and found this:

A toilet auger. What a brilliant invention! You stick the narrow pipe into the toilet bowl, and inside the pipe is a long measure of coiled but bendable metal. You push the coiled metal out of the tube, down the pipe, and around the pipe’s curves, and then use the crank in the handle to turn the coil.

I darted to Ace Hardware, and returned with a toilet auger, and I strongly recommend both Ace and the auger. I shoved the metal deeply down the toilet, cranked the handle, and I could feel the pickles meeting their demise. Pickle bits were embedded in the coil when it was withdrawn.

After that, we had a functional toilet again, and all I had to do was mop up the mess. A toilet auger costs less than ten bucks — far less than calling a plumber, and less embarrassing than calling the landlord about pickles stuck in the toilet.



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  1. I love the "spare toilet in the living room."

    1. It's disgusting but brilliant

    2. It's usually in the closet. Only comes out when it's needed.


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