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Mr. Gardello And Other PBs

By LC Van Savage

One of the funniest and perhaps most embarrassing things in our culture is…well, wait a second. Perhaps I should first warn you about the subject of today’s article in case you’re eating or something. Honestly, I don’t wish to be crude, OK I actually do wish to be crude, but someone has to address this awkward situation sometime and the mantle has fallen to me. Well all right; I’ve willingly pulled the mantle down onto me.

So here goes; today folks, we’re going to address the great societal faux pas, that ooogy, blushy gaucheness of plumber’s butt. Don’t pretend you don’t know what it is because you do, you’ve sneaked a look or two, probably pointed, have suppressed a snicker, and in fact you yourself have maybe graced the world with an inadvertent flash of your own plumber’s butt. We all have one you know. Even the skinniest of us.

Since we’re being so cheeky here, and in the interest of ecumenical buttock gaffes, we have to suggest that plumber’s butts are not always seen only on plumbers. Anyone who hasn’t hitched his or her britches up high enough and gets involved in an activity requiring your squats or bends quite probably will, want to or not, display to the world a goodly portion of our tender, private PB tips.

I apologize to all plumbers everywhere; I promise you are most definitely not the only ones guilty of this social indiscretion. Alas, the label has been stuck on you forever, because even if ballerinas, used car dealers, politicians or anyone on earth accidentally shows the world the tops of their derrieres during some bending forward activity, plumbers still get the bad rap. Hey, accidents happen and we can’t see behind our behinds so we sometimes just simply don’t know we’re smiling vertically at people bringing up the rear. And of course there are those who, even if they did know, just wouldn’t care anyway. Or some may even take perverse pleasure in pretending they don’t know they’re displaying.

The first PB I ever saw belonged to dear old lovely Mr. Gardello who in fact actually was a plumber, a big gruff loud sweet man with a perpetual five o'clock shadow, a huge distinctive nose and two rows of big square teeth. I loved him. He smelled great. He was so kind and nice.

My family had one of the first electric dishwashers possibly ever made and it had to be rolled across our large, antediluvian kitchen and plugged into the sink faucet where, like a pressure cooker it exploded routinely, shattering the faucet and spraying down all the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the curtains, all other appliances and us if we happened by at the wrong time. Mr. Gardello would then be quickly called in and in short order would grace us all with an ample view of his ample backside’s perpendicular grin, and we kids hung around of course so we could get an unobstructed view. We’d giggle and point as Mr. G. worked and he’d turn his big, friendly face toward us and smile back, thinking it was merely his presence that was giving us so much joy. It kind of was.

When and where I was growing up, Italians were the ones to hate even though their contributions to the world of art and music, architecture, science, entertainment, literature and everything else were legion. Didn’t matter. After the Puerto Ricans, African Americans and a wide variety of religions, the Italians were it, although I forget the order of anti-nesses. Mr. Gardello was treated OK by my bigoted family as long as he kept his place, came in to plumb us out of things and didn’t get too friendly. But after a few years, Mr. G. did pretty well in the plumbing biz and eventually got enough money together to buy a really huge home in the same neighborhood where my family and their fellow 'bigottos' lived. I mean please, the plumber, living right down the street? Unthinkable. How dare he?

I well recall my hooting with wild laughter when that huge, funny and happy Gardello family moved in, and did it quite loudly. Seeing the frozen horror on the faces of … well everyone in that neighborhood gave me a sense of delight I will never forget. How wonderful! There he was! Our former plumber with a vowel at the end of his name yet, and living just down the street. Oh the shuddering shock of it all! It was just plain downright delicious.

I was personally sorry that Mr. Gardello gave up the plumbing biz to make a series of killings in the stock market, and therefore his outstanding PB demonstrations were seen no more in our home.

My family found another plumber to work on that balky dishwasher. That man was Polish and oh no! His last name also ended in a vowel; ski. Nice guy, but he had a very skinny back end so when he worked on that appliance it just wasn’t the same. In fact his britches stayed firmly around his waist. Thus we kids, heads hung low, had to sadly shuffle off in search of other PBs to conquer. But none ever compared in any way to Mr. Gardello’s. Hey come on. After all, all we had back then were covert National Geographics to teach us about the forbidden parts of the human anatomy. Polish plumber guy just didn’t measure up, so to speak.

So the question begging an answer is this; when someone we know, or heck, perhaps even don’t know, presents a third of his rump to the world and seems oblivious to his doing that, should we tell him? Or do we just stare a while and move on with our lives? That’s a tough one. I mean do you just go up to the guy and say, “Hey Mack, your arse is showing and we’ve got kids here”? Or what? Probably not. Wouldn’t be polite. I think sometimes when we see someone who’s oblivious to a wardrobe malfunction, the kindest thing to do is just tuck the memory away, smile, say nada and carry on, except of course if they’re dragging eleven yards of toilet paper on their heel after exiting the public lav. I mean, should the guy with the silent, unseen PB or other accidental exposures be told? Do I know? After all, we kids never told that darling old grinning- from-both-ends unforgettable Plumber Gardello. He never knew, and he had a great life anyway.

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