Wednesday, June 17, 2009


". . . from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee."

I quote from Moby Dick because the toilet in room 16 is my white whale. I could have used "the toilet in room 16 is my Lex Luthor," or "the toilet in room 16 is my Professor Moriarty," or some other arch nemesis (if you can think of any others please post them here). But I like "white whale" the best because the color and even the shape of a toilet is reflective of the giant mammal. So, the toilet in room 16 is my white whale.

Every year I have one recurring problem that for some reason I just can't fix. Last year was something in number 8, the year before number 4, this year 16. And it really bothers me, because I pride myself on being able to fix just about anything. It's an itch I can't scratch. Technically speaking a customer broke the original handle and I've had to replace it with a "universal" handle, which of course are not universal (they're not even worldly or stately for that matter). Anyway the handle just doesn't fit properly or work efficiently and causes some customers to get frustrated enough to break it again. I've installed three handles in a month with no end in sight.

But unlike Ahab, I've come to grips with my situation. In truth, I've come to embrace it. I enjoy having a white whale in my life. I laugh now at its repeated attempts to thwart my plans. Granted, sometimes I scream and shake my fist at the sky, but deep down I know I need my white whale. We all do. Whether yours is a family member, something or someone at work, or the toilet in number 16, an arch nemesis keeps us thinking, learning, improving. And when we defeat it, well, nothing is sweeter.


  1. I am so not a math geek, but I wonder if you've considered that each room to give you fits is a multiple of 4? And, your arch nemesis is the square of 4? Hmm, no idea what that means, but it must mean something!

  2. I don't know - when we defeat our arch enemy - does another appear and replace it...but I do agree, having an archenemy does keep us going, learning, thinking, outsmarting, experiencing.


  3. Yep, I agree - our trials are always present. And they do change over time. If they didn't, I guess life would get boring or else maybe we'd give up trying. New "enemies" make new challenges, eh?

    Thanks Jack - great post... keep 'em coming when you get time.