Because I don’t do laundry, even though I often air it in public, I am frequently in hot water. But I didn’t want my house to be in it, too, so I recently contracted to replace the water heater, which threatened to blow like Old Faithful and spray steaming hot water all over me, which at least would have allowed me to do laundry without having to take off my dirty socks and underwear.
The two guys who came over to do the job were the father-and-son team of Keith and Keith Scanlon.
Keith Sr., 63, and Keith Jr., 25, are hot stuff themselves.
“I hope he’s a good cop,” father said of son, who has applied for the NYPD, “because he’s a terrible plumber.”
Replied son, “Not all of us have been doing this since dinosaurs roamed the earth.”
Even though Keith Sr. has been in the business for 40 years, he’s not exactly prehistoric, which is more than I could say for the oil burner, a rusty contraption that was in worse shape than the water heater and had turned the laundry room into the appliance version of Jurassic Park.
“It did its time,” Keith Sr. declared.
“Are you going to put it out of its misery?” I asked.
“Yes,” Keith Sr. answered, adding: “Now it’s going to cause us some misery.”
That’s because the metal hulk weighed 860 pounds.
“Being a cop has to be easier than this,” Keith Jr. said as he and his father loaded the burner onto a dolly, wheeled it through the garage and put it on a device that lifted it into the back of their truck. “The heaviest lifting I’ll have to do on the NYPD is bringing guys to jail.”
“At least this keeps me in shape,” said Keith Sr., who has no plans to retire because he has three adult children — Keith Jr. is the “baby” — and has to pay for weddings and help with college tuition bills.
“I was father of the bride recently,” said Keith Sr., whose younger daughter, Arianna, had a destination wedding in Mexico.
“It was unbelievable,” Keith Sr. said, adding that the groom, Aleck, had his bachelor party in Iceland. “I didn’t go,” Keith Sr. noted, “but my son-in-law’s family is from Macedonia, so we’re going to have a second event in the U.S. so they can attend.”
I told Keith Sr. that I have been father of the bride to both of my daughters and that the younger one was married in France.
“We also had a second event in the U.S. for the people from here who couldn’t make it there,” I said.
“We have a lot in common,” Keith Sr. said when I told him that my daughters took a trip to Iceland.
“I didn’t go, either,” I noted.
“My older daughter is named Lauren,” he said.
“That’s my younger daughter’s name,” I replied.
“My wife, Antoinette, and I have been married for 39 years,” Keith Sr. said.
“My wife, Sue, and I have been married for 41,” I said, “but I’m two years older than you are, so it evens out.”
Then I found out that Keith Sr. and Antoinette were married two days after my older daughter, Katie, was born.
“Do you do laundry?” I asked.
“No,” Keith Sr. answered.
“Neither do I,” I told him.
“We’re so much alike, it’s incredible,” he said.
The one thing we don’t have in common is that I’m retired.
“If you get in your wife’s hair, you could work for me,” Keith Sr. said. “Now that she has a new water heater, she won’t mind washing your dirty socks and underwear.”
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which includes his hometown paper, the Stamford Advocate. His column is distributed by Tribune News Service of Chicago and has run in newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of four books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows Best and Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.