Pearl Harbor and The Toilet Whisperer

Apparently, I use too much toilet paper. This was first brought to my attention during what is now referred to as the Great Toilet Paper Standoff of 1998, when my roommate at the time stopped buying toilet paper because of what he alleged was my "abuse"of the stuff. I, in turn, refused to buy toilet paper also, claiming gender discrimination. That was a hard month to get through but fortunately our apartment was across the street from a 7-Eleven with clean restrooms. My roommate made his position clear: "Either you are eating it," he said, "or you are throwing it away for fun. But you cannot possibly be going through it this fast if you are merely using it for its intended purpose."
I would like to think that my roommate was just insane and petty but I do seem to have plumbing issues more often than the average person. I am not speaking euphemistically. I am talking real lead pipe problems, the kind that happen after you flush and then realize with a sinking sense that the toilet is just not going to hold up its end of the bargain. The truth is I have plugged up toilets all over the world, even after not doing anything particularly nefarious to them. Sometimes I am able to resolve the problem by myself and sometimes Jeff has to be called in to consult. (Once, in one infamous incident in New York, Jeff's brother had to be called to fix things. On his birthday. In a suit. On his way out to dinner. That was bad.) Recently in Kauai Jeff knocked on the bathroom door after hearing something like eight or nine flushes and asked me if I required assistance. I tried to refuse but eventually I had to admit I did. Jeff said not to worry about it, that he has a certain cosmic connection to toilets, an ability to communicate with them that goes beyond simply taking an instrument and using it to unclog things. Toilets respond to him, he said.
"You may call me The Toilet Whisperer, " he said.
"I'd really rather not, " I told him.
His face fell. "Please?"
So, here is a picture of The Toilet Whisperer on our layover in Honolulu, in front of the guns of the USS Missouri, wearing his new shirt and feeling just fine:
Now we have been lovingly reunited with our couch in California. My adventurous traveling phase may be coming to an end…

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