Hardy Plumbing
January 05, 2011

Rick will use his space to open a dialogue about the issues of the day in the hope that all of us who live in this great nation will bond as one, with mutual respect and admiration, even the despicable losers who can't afford SUVs.

I have perfected the most efficient snow removal system on earth, and right about now that makes me a very important person indeed.

While my neighbors are out shoveling and blowing -- risking heart attacks -- I'm tucked in my house munching on bacon cheeseburgers and fries, watching football and pursuing other healthy pursuits guaranteed to foster a long and healthy life.

I have been doing this all my life. When I was a little kid in Brooklyn, me and my friends would knock on doors and ask little old ladies if they wanted us to clear their walks. We would charge 75 cents upfront. Occasionally one of the ladies would recognize us months later and confront us. "Hey you little brat, didn't I pay you to shovel my walkway?"

"No Ma'am," I'd reply innocently. "You paid me to clear your walkway."

"You didn't do anything!" the lady would rant.

"No," I'd reply. "Is there snow on your walk today?"

"It's June."

"Exactly. I didn't say when I'd clear it. I promised to clear the snow, and I did. I think you owe me another 50 cents."

This fool-proof method works just as well today and continually amazes my wife, Karen.

"Rick, you MUST shovel the driveway. It's a mess," she'll urge.

"I'm going to take care of it, Hon, trust me."

A few days later she starts again. "I thought you said you were going to shovel?"

"I said I'd take care of it, and I will," I say firmly. Finally of course, it turns to ice, which for some reason women think is dangerous. Men, especially men who have played hockey, know it is a naturally occurring bonus to the winter fun, a chance to slip and slide, work on some moves, and get a little exercise. It helps Nike sneakers have cleat-like apparatus on some models. Women, on the other hand, insist on walking around with four-inch spiked heels which resemble miniature pogo-sticks. Ergo, they fall.

Eventually, I do exactly what I promised to do: clear the snow and ice.

My error-proof method of snow removal -- so efficient it is guaranteed to remove every flake -- is very simple. It is called THE SUN. The sun actually melts ice. Guaranteed. It's an amazing phenomenon.

This latest storm presents a little problem for my wife Karen because even if she could slide her way to her car it is covered with snow. No problem for me -- I have a truck with huge tires, because I long ago concluded the size of a man's tires is directly proportional to the size of his sex organ.

So my car sits high above the snow, just like . . . well, never mind about that. It (the truck, not the organ) also has defrosters on all four sides, front and rear windshield wipers, a heavy-duty heating system, and four-wheel drive. Any man who doesn't have four wheel-drive is, of course, a girlie-man (this is not a bad thing, letter writers, but merely an inconvenience during the winter).

My idea of digging my truck out of the snow is to put the heater and defrosters on full blast using the remote control, watch television, and wait for all the snow that was on it to melt, thus falling to the ground and melting the snow underneath the car. I then get in, put it in four-wheel drive, and floor it. Ta-Dah! We have lift off.

The trouble with all this is I have no excuse when it comes to my job. I can't call in and say I'm stuck because most of my co-workers have seen my sex organ, er, I mean my tires.

When I worked at The East Hampton Star during the big blizzard of '95, my car was literally trapped down a 150-foot winding driveway with drifts of 15 or more feet. I called in sick Monday. I called in Tuesday. I called in Wednesday. Thursday I ran out of cigarettes and beer and shoveled the entire driveway in 35 minutes.

Anyhow, last week's storm presented a new set of problems. I went to work, leaving Karen home alone, trapped. "What if I have to go to the hospital?" she asks.

"Easy," I say cheerfully. "You can slide there. Just pretend you're playing hockey." This does not go over well.

"How about if I take your truck?" she asks. Now it's getting ugly.

First of all, the reason they call it my truck is because it's mine. Second, a mere woman couldn't possibly harness the enormous power and control the brute that is my truck. Third, I wouldn't be able to go to work, which means I'd have to stay home and come up with more excuses why I shouldn't shovel while I wait for the sun to do its magic.

I dodged the bullet by promising to buy Karen her own four-wheel drive vehicle. But I warned her -- it better have very tiny tires.

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