Thursday, November 13, 2008


When I received the first installment of my book advance, one of the first things I did was purchase my mother a new washing machine and dryer. I bought these items – these durable goods – from a reputable retailer of such things.

Two years later – yesterday, to be precise – I received a call from my mother informing me of a problem with the dryer. The exhaust hose had somehow detached, and there was a pile of lint as-high-as-your-eye in back of the machine. In fact, the size of this pile of lint leads me to believe that the exhaust hose was never installed properly in the first place.

The dryer was no longer under warranty. It became my job to repair it.

I went to the hardware store and bought a clamp to attach the exhaust hose to the elbow-shaped pipe that goes into the back of the dryer. I lined everything up and pushed it all in as tightly as it would go. Then I secured the clamp.

Then I sliced my hand open on a jagged piece of wire that was dangling from the exhaust hose.

Then I said, “Motherfucker.” I stressed the first and third syllables of the word.

Then I bled profusely.

Then I punched the side of the dryer with my non-sliced hand, leaving a knuckle-shaped indentation.

There is a metaphor here somewhere.