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Don't let your water heater leave home without you

I went downstairs and delivered the bad news to Sir Nautilus the Water Heater. He, of aristocratic snooty upbringing, sometimes delivers to us hot water, despite his belief that we, the unwashed masses living in this house, would be better off bathing in cold water. He is quite temperamental.

"Sir Nautilus," I said, "I have bad news." I went on to tell him about his Cousin Morflo down in the Twin Cities, who had superheated herself due to a faulty pressure relief valve, and found herself rocket launched up through the roof.

Sir Nautilus took it badly. "I always had a wet spot for Cousin Morflo," he bubbled. Then he wet the floor. It's always something with these well-bred types.

In case you didn't hear about it, imagine the home owner's bewilderment as the electric water heater which had sat peacefully in the basement all these years turns into a rocket and achieves escape velocity up through your floor, feet from your bed, and up through the roof, landing 150 feet away, in someone else's backyard.

Imagine even further the dog's amazement at finding himself a passenger on this flight. The dog, who, the owners said, always slept right there on that spot on the floor, must have done so because of how warm it was. Unfortunately, the dog didn't survive the trip.

One can only imagine how much force it takes to travel upwards through floor joists, subflooring, flooring, carpet, the dog, the sheet rock ceiling, roof sheeting, and shingles, and still have enough left to fly to the neighbor's backyard.

In case you're wondering, yes, it was electric; no, it wasn't gas. They have their own troubles.

I told Sir Nautilus: "Look, it was so quick, I'm sure she didn't feel any pain." Sir Nautilus didn't seem relieved. He rattled his pipes at me, and went suddenly cold.

He said as he sobbed: "I know. But she made the trip. All these years, all we water heaters think about is escaping the basement, seeing green grass outside, maybe visiting The Water Heater Museum, something to look forward to besides the scrap yard."

Boy. I never thought about that.

I tried to cheer him up, said, "Yes, but think of all those years when you kept My Young Girls in hot water, so they could go out and smell good." I didn't point out that, about once a week, I had to go downstairs, as acting Guardian of the Hot Water, and plead with him for more. Had to put up with his prissy behavior and adamant refusal to heat water past 98.6, because that's how warm humans are, so why heat the water any hotter? Had to threaten him with wrenches and replacement.

Now his cousin had blown her bottom and gone Outside. I felt a bit mean when I said to him: He or She who lives by Hot Water may die by Hot Water."

Sir Nautilus snorted some more water on the floor and said, quite snootily: "Bad metaphors don't make me feel any better."

Oh. Now I was angry. He didn't like bad metaphors? I decided to give him some. I said: "Cousin Morflo set an example for all of us. She cared enough to send the very best. Hot water saved is hot water earned. She's cast her waters..."

"Oh quit," he said. I guess he knew when he was licked.

Then he said, kind of smirkishly: "Don't let your water heater leave home without you." Then he went to sleep.

Now that I know how dangerous water heaters are, I wonder what he meant by that?