My late father knew a thing or two about water. Part of that knowledge was already in his bones at birth: Born and raised in Denmark, his forefathers more than 1,000 years ago were likely seafaring Vikings.
Thankfully, he never showed any tendencies toward wanting to pillage and plunder any neighbors for coin, weapons and women. Although a native Dane herself, Mom wouldn’t have allowed it.
The other part of his water knowledge came by profession. For more than 40 years, he was a master plumber who owned Harry Bern Plumbing and Heating in St. Joseph, Michigan. Over the course of his career, he replaced countless hot water heaters, sinks, toilets, water lines and drains that had sprung a leak and damaged ceilings, floors and walls before he got the call for help.
He saw a lot of costly water damage in his time and had a little saying he’d offer to assuage his customers’ dismay or anger, and to also explain the vagaries of one of Earth’s most precious compounds that makes life here possible — but can also wreak havoc if allowed to run willy-nilly.
“Water is pretty tin,” he’d say in a thick Danish accent. The Danish word for thin is “tynd.”
And he’s right, for within those four words flows a simple truth everyone has encountered at some time in their life: If allowed to run where it wants, and with a little help from gravity, water can get into and through just about everything and anything. Take the Grand Canyon, for example.
I was reminded of my dad’s little truism last month when I stupidly forgot to check my Levis’ pockets for valuables before dropping them into the washing machine. When I later pulled them out of the washer and tossed them into the dryer, I noticed a small, white plastic capsule in the bottom of the tub. It was my new Apple AirPods case. Of course, the AirPods were inside.
Surprisingly, I didn’t let fly a string of salty expletives to assuage my dismay and anger. I just closed my eyes, scrunched my face in pain, and nodded while I remembered uttering “I gotta remember to check my pants before putting them in the wash,” when I paid $159 for the absolutely non-essential purchase.
The look on the Apple Store employee’s face when she told me my AirPods were ruined, affirmed that I didn’t do a good job of remembering to check my Levis. But she did offer some relief. She said several customers come in every day at the Apple Store with AirPods that took an unwanted swim. Of course, I felt better — and didn’t mind as much paying another $159 for another pair.
My father’s little truism about the thinness of water hit me again this week. After walking into my office at Transcript Bulletin Publishing early Tuesday morning, I noticed the top of my desk glisten with water. Monday night’s thunderstorm that pummeled Tooele Valley with heavy rain took a liking to the Transcript’s flat roof, particularly to a small hole in the roof’s membrane over my office.
Thanks to gravity, the water drained through the roof, onto my office ceiling and then onto my desk. Once there, it soaked papers and nick-nacks, then flowed onto the carpet.
I’m still dealing with the mess as I write this Out and About. I’ve cleaned up my desk and a floor fan is drying the carpet. And thank goodness I use a laptop computer that I always take home every night. A desktop computer would have had a much-unwanted bath.
Tooele County is again in the throes of a major drought. The area is nearly 5 inches in arrears for the water year, with water and fire restrictions imposed. But until the roof here gets fixed, I’m going to keep an umbrella next to my desk — just in case.