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GE washing machine gives up the ghost

General Electric the washing machine was coughing so hard that I could hear him clear upstairs. That tubby square gut of his was acting like a megaphone. The entire house was vibrating at levels measurable by seismic detectors clear to the coast. I raced down the stairs.

I was shocked when I turned on the light. General Electric the washing machine was as white as a ghost. (You do have to be an expert to tell. After all, he's painted white.) "Are you alright?" I asked him.

Stupid question. People are good at stupid questions. I was once in a car accident, broke my nose, blood all over me. The first thing a passing motorist who stopped said was: "Are you alright?"

General Electric the washing machine let out another snort. He was not alright. When he snorted, water sprayed out on two different sides. His voice came out in gurgles, like he was talking through a tube partially filled with water: "Where are all these clothes coming from?" ("Gurgle, gurgle.") He said that. The "gurgle" part.

I said: "You're dying, and you're wondering about clothes?"

He said: "I'm dying because of the clothes." He gurgled again, said: "I think there's a curtain stuck in my colon."

He's such a hypochondriac. However, this time, maybe he's right. We had a lot of company this summer. Had to clean house.

"You don't have a colon," I said. Well, he does, kind of. Something must connect that tub of a gut of his to the septic system.

I asked him: "Where does it hurt?" Then I poked him a good one in his drain hose, to see if it had prolapsed. I told him what every doctor has ever told me. "Hey. You're gonna feel some slight pressure."

General Electric said: "Ouch! What'd you do that for? That hurt!"

"Ok, that's good. Numbness there would indicate something very bad."

"I'm leaking from several different places all at once," The general gurgled, "how can anything else be worse?"

That told me I had to go in. "OK," I warned him, "suck in your tub, I'm going to have to pop you open, and I don't want to be hurt by underwear flying out at me under high pressure."

I popped his front cover, and found several other places to poke.

"Ouch!"

"Ugh!"

"Ooof!"

I stood back up, and asked him: "Do you want the good news or the bad news?"

He thoughtfully scratched his chinny console with his lid, and said: "Give me the good news, first."

Sure. "Hey, Sears has washing machines on sale."

He didn't think that was funny.

I gave him the bad news, then. "It's your pump."

"Oooooh no, not my pump." He was distraught. He began to weep.

"Don't do that. You keep that up," I told him, "you'll flood the septic system." One thing everyone in here realizes is, you don't mess with SS.

"Yes, your pump." I felt bad for him. He knew what was coming. I was going to have to unplug him, flatline him for however long it took to do a pump transplant.

"Look," I told him, "I've done a hundred of these, and once the new pump is in, you'll feel like a young machine again, and maybe, I get in there, I'll find it's just a blockage. I'll clear that out, get you right back in business."

"I have to get you back in shape. There are lots of curtains coming your way."

He fainted.

I unplugged him. A good faint is better than a general anesthetic.

He had three missing socks in his pump. A mystery solved.

(Over the next year, I will add a 50-years-ago P.S. to my columns, starting now: Fifty years ago today, I was in Ft. Bliss in the fourth week of army basic training, and I had just turned 24. It was cold. Miserable. One soldier out of 160 fell out for 6:00-am reveille in 25-degree weather without his gloves. A 2nd Lieutenant whispered to a drill sergeant, and the order for 159 of us to take off our gloves was issued. It was my first awareness that in the army, the least common denominator was supported, no matter what. As time went on, and I went to Vietnam, I would see that philosophy revealed over and over as nincompoops who couldn't cut it in civilian life stayed in for 20 years and became dangerously incompetent leaders.)

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