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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Dirty Business....
 


Itís a Dirty Business

It seemed like a good idea when we bought our home in a distant suburb. Plenty of space, no rubbing elbows with neighbors, peace and quiet, fresh country air. That was before I found out about septic tanks. Iíve been dealing with the distasteful business known by non-urban dwellers as "pumping the septic tank."

For you city slickers who donít have the faintest idea what Iím talking about, a septic tank is sort of the modern replacement for the outhouse, an individual sewer system for homes that are not on a city sewer system. Periodically, the realities of country living catch up and it is time for the unavoidable chore of getting it cleaned.

The first step is finding a septic service that will answer the phone. Like service people of any sort, they have more business than they need and donít care whether they get any calls or not. After repeated attempts, however, someone finally picks up the phone. I can almost smell the smell through the phone wire.

Darryl and Darryl from the old Bob Newhart show operate the service I picked. I donít know why, but it seems to be a family sort of business. They try to be professional asking the usual questions: "How long has it been?" THAT LONG? "How old is the house?" THAT OLD? "How many people?" THAT MANY? I could hear the price going up.

Apparently, Darryl is not good with directions; or else he is in shock over my answers to his questions. He put the other Darryl on the phone. I gave him directions while he repeated them back to the first Darryl. My house is not hard to find, but somehow I knew already that they would get lost. "We can come right now," he said.

"Right now? But, Iím at work. Can you come tomorrow?"

"Okay, how early?" We discussed the time I get up, the time I usually leave for work, and finally decided on 7 a.m. That would be great. I could take care of the dirty business and go on to work. I forgot about the golden rule of all service people: "Never Show up On Time."

Sure enough, the next morning Iím ready and sitting by the phone at 7 a.m. It rings. I figured they were lost. Wrong - itís worse! "We are running a little late." What a surprise. "We will be leaving in about 15 minutes, right Darryl?" Leaving? You are supposed to be arriving! I dared not complain as they perform a vital, if distasteful, service.

Darryl went on to tell me about the clutch going out in the truck, how they were getting it fixed, how the repair shop was running late. "We will pick up the truck and be right there." I could hear the other Darryl agreeing in the background.

Good grief! Why didnít they tell me yesterday that there was a problem with the truck? "Okay, Iíll be waiting." I sprayed the phone with Lysol to get rid of the smell, and called work to say I would be late.

At 8:30 the phone rings again. They are lost. They took the wrong exit off the Interstate. 

 I canít stand it!

Finally, they show up and after much mumbling, head scratching, and digging, the tank is found and the foul deed is done. They call me out to inspect the work, as if anything could possibly matter to me more than the smell. After a nauseating look, I praise their excellent work, then go inside and spray myself allover with Lysol.

Finally, they were finished and drove away. The neighbors waved a grateful goodbye from a respectful distance, and the flies returned to the rotten apples under the apple tree. I may never get the smell out of my nose. However, I guess to those that make a living with that sort business, it must smell like money. 

Pardon me now while I gag, take a bath, and spray this column with Lysol.


Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
 
 



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