A Plumber’s Noir

I was up late last night, twittering through “The Late Show,” the best way to watch Letterman, and awoke past the dawn to discover a delightful missive, a kind of plumbing noir note, left inside the TP wheelbarrow, placed atop the closed loo. The empty wheelbarrow was a first clue to the mishap that must have unfolded in the wee morning hours. The note, pictured above, elegantly written, including exclamation points fore-and-aft a cap rigged Danger, follows, in its entirety:




? ?

Plumbers are not usually prescriptivists, recognizing options. I called in Long and Shorty. Shorty did the trick.

The note, marvelously ambiguous, understated in its use of only two question marks, where a more excitable writer might have been inclined to exaggerate with three or more, though not if they were in a hurry, now sits on my desk, offering no apology to William Carlos Williams:

…so much depends upon, this is just to say, notes, fore-and-aft

There is much danger inherent in plumbing and poetry, fully suggested by the writer of the pink bordered note.

Poems referenced in this post: “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This is Just to Say,” both by W. C. Williams.

Related Posts: E. B. White and the plumberThe Postman Always Rings Twice, the Plumber Rarely More Than Once


  1. dan hennessy says:

    Does the journeyman plumber study poetry ? Are there courses in community colleges : Writing for Plumbers ? Prerequisite : inside and outside knowledge of toilets or equivalent . Alternative suggestion : Flush valve Fixing for Poets . In this course we will explore themes of practicality v. poetry in plumbing .


    1. Joe Linker says:

      There certainly should be. The Rhetoric of Toilets. The Figurative Language of Plumbing (my dad wrote the book on this one).


      1. Growing up I also worked with Dad on all his jobs. He certainly had his very own language. I guess you could call it poetry.


        1. Joe Linker says:

          Some poetry that is officially called poetry is a lot less poetic than the professor of plumbing’s poetry.


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