“Who can perform the best boundary trap replacement? Who’s the most talented plumber this side of the Yarra? Let’s find out, tonight on Who Wants to Be A Plumbing Millionaire!”
It was three years ago, when I’d just begun my apprenticeship. Steph Jennings, arrogant, overconfident, and criminally naive when it came to the ways of plumbing. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
“Let’s meet our contestants,” said the host, walking around the stage that I stood on with two men. One was a traditional-looking plumber and the other seemed more like he’d walked into the studio after riding with a bikie gang.
“First, we have Charles Buckwheat, the best plumber when it comes to blocked drains around Thornbury!”
Mr Buckwheat showed off his leather jacket with spikes on it and gave the audience an exaggerated wink. The host moved on to the standard looking plumber, named Mario.
Finally the host introduced me, the show’s theme music played and we waited for an ad break to finish.
“And we’re back! Let’s get started with the competition, shall we?” said the host. “Our first question goes to Steph. Are you ready, Steph?”
“Sure am, Mickey!” I said.
“My name’s not Mickey, but we’ll move on anyway. For one-thousand dollars, tell us how you would begin the process of boundary trap replacement for Melbourne homes.”
One thousand dollars? My heart caught in my throat. I couldn’t answer this for a thousand dollars. I couldn’t answer it for a million dollars. I’d never even heard of boundary trap replacement! What was that?
I thought, oh I thought, that I could come onto this competition and wing it with only one week of formal training. How hard could plumbing be? I was so wrong.
“Well, first I would take the boundary trap thingy out of the place, and then I would get another one and put that in where it used to be. And then I’d make it work by doing all the plumbing things.”
The host was shocked. “That’s absolutely correct!” he said. “Congratulations, Steph, you’re off to a great start!”