Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I guess everybody wants a better life for their children. So when I proposed to my blue-collar working class father that I thought being a plumber would be a good future for me, he looked at me as if I've just confessed to stabbing the Pope.

I was 13 at the time. I had just found out that plumbers can make up to $40/hr. For a kid growing up poor, that sounded like the promise land. However, for a father working his ass off at the factory to support his family, his kid needed a wakeup call. So for the next two hours, that's what I got.

With the fervor of an angered Baptist preacher, he lectured me on how he and my mother had sacrificed everything to immigrate to the States to open up a world of opportunities for their sons and I'm going to be a... a... a plumber!?! Had I no sense? Where was my pride? How will this honor them? I plan on spending the rest of my life working on pipes clogged with other people's piss and shit? I had better get my head out of my ass and get it screwed on right because my father wasn't busting his ass and sacrificing everything to raise no damned plumber.

I remember this incident quite clearly in my head. I remember every detail. I can even remember what shirt my dad was wearing. I sat on the floor quietly as my father paced around the room shouting and lecturing. Man, he was pissed. It'll be a cold day in Hell before he saw his son become a plumber.

And this memory came flooding back as I was telling a friend of my dad's what I do for a living: "Well, I'm specializing in vascular surgery. That means I work on the blood vessels in the body. If there's a blockage or a narrowing, I'll remove it or bypass it. If there's a rupture, I'll fix it. In a sense, I'm just a glorified plumber."

I think Hell's temperature is dropping.