the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

How Jack Bauer Has Ruined My Life


7AM – Los Angeles

After using the bathroom, Jack Bauer hears screams from his separated wife, Sophia.

“Jack, Jack! The toilet is overflowing!”

Within a second, Jack has pushed Sophia aside and jumped into the bathroom. Jack shoves his bare foot directly into the toilet, stopping the flow.

“I thought you called the plumber,” says his upset separated wife.

“He didn’t show up yet?!  Dammit, I’ll be right back, Sophia.”

Jack jumps out of the bathroom window and runs down the San Diego Freeway, against traffic, until he reaches the plumber’s house.  Jack breaks in and tortures the plumber with the plumber’s “snake,” forcing the plumber to immediately come over to his home to fix the toilet, then clean the bathroom until it is spotless.

7AM – Los Angeles

After using the bathroom, Neil hears screams from his separated wife, Sophia.

“Neil, Neil! The toilet is overflowing!”

Neil nervously approaches, not wanting to get involved.

“Come here!!! Do something!” yells Sophia.

Neil meekly looks into the bathroom, fear in his eyes.

“What do you want me to do?” Neil screams.

“We have to stop it before the water is all over the f**king house!”

Neil walks on tiptoes into the bathroom so as not to touch any of the water coming over the top of the toilet onto the linoleum floor.

“Yuch…yuch… yuch…” he says, wishing he wasn’t wearing his favorite Keds.

Neil jiggles the handle and the toilet stops overflowing.

“It’s the floor!  It’s going to leak down to the living room.  We need some towels!” cries Sophia.

Neil grabs the two towels hanging on the bathroom rack.

“Not those towels!” she adds.  “Those are 100-percent combed cotton towels.  Use the polyester towels YOUR MOTHER gave us! 

Neil goes into the “towel” closet to search for those towels Sophia always hated, but told his mother otherwise.

“I thought you called the plumber,” says his upset separated wife.

“I did. He can’t come until Thursday!” (Neil really didn’t)

“Call him again. Tell him it is an emergency!”

After reluctantly cleaning the bathroom with Sophia  (his excuse for the mediocre blog post yesterday) and taking two showers afterwards because he felt disgusting, Neil calls the plumber on the phone, who tells him that he can’t come until Thursday.

Damn Jack Bauer. 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Call Me


  1. Jack

    I just love his name.

  2. Wendy

    Yup..Jack’s just about ruined all other men for us women…just ask my husband..

  3. The Retropolitan

    Have you tried Drano?

    If you threaten to use it on the plumber, he’ll probably bump up the appointment.

  4. reese

    The part about the towels was hilarious. My husband would be so willing to help but I’d be nagging about which towels and he’d look at me like I was crazy. It would probably cause a fight. LOL

  5. better safe than sorry

    i’ve never watched that show, had no idea he was a plumber!
    my understanding is never put draino in a toilet (sorry retropolitan) because then you can’t plunge it afterwards. i know alka seltzer and vinegar work in a sink, not sure if it would work in the toilet. did you try googling for toilet help?

  6. Ash

    I’m sure Neil has it all fixed by now. He’s just writing about it because he wanted more Google hits on Jack Bauer :0

  7. Alissa

    See? What would Sophia have done if you weren’t still living with her?

  8. TherapyDoc

    I am thinking she needs to paradox you. (see my post on this).

    Sophia, when you give Neil a task, such as, Call the Plumber, you say it like this.

    Neil, I know you won’t call the plumber. So just give me his number.

    Neil: I’ll call the d.. plumber.

    Sophia: I just don’t see it. I can’t get a mental fix on you calling the plumber. It’s not happening. One day, very soon, we’ll have to swim to get outside the house. I’d better have my bathing suit available.

    Neil: I’ll call, I’ll call.

    Sophia: No you won’t.

    Neil: I’ll call, I’ll call.

    Sophia: No you WON’T.

    Neil: Fine, I won’t.

    oh, but you will, right, you HAVE to, you’ve been out-thunk.

    couldn’t resist, sorry

  9. Mist 1

    I missed 24 this week. I would have loved to see the episode where Jack mops the bathroom floor. I’ve always wondered when he handles the mundane chores in life.

  10. margaret

    Jack’s amazing, I’ve NEVER seen a plumber clean-up after himself!

  11. plain jane

    “After reluctantly cleaning the bathroom with Sophia…” Did you decide not to use either set of towels and just use Sophia instead?

  12. Jazz

    I wanna be Jack when I grow up too. I wanna yell at people, shoot people, and tell them “Trust me, I’ll explain later”.

  13. Dagny

    Experience has taught me that if a toilet repeatedly overflows, then there’s a main that is in need of snaking. If you get really desperate, you can rent a snake.

  14. Finn

    As Dagny said, you CAN rent a snake. And you don’t have to be Jack Bauer to use it.

    And who needs Jack Bauer anyway? He’s NEVER home, and I bet he leaves his underwear all over the floor.

  15. Danny

    I love this post because I would have responded exactly like you in every way. But at least I have never faked my own death to my wife or accidentally gotten her involved with nuclear bombs or terrorist cells. Come on, women, do you really want to be involved with a sociopath like Jack Bauer??

  16. Pearl

    Sorry, I don’t watch “24” but would it be within Jack’s character to simply turn to Sophia and say, “Yup, sh** happens!”

  17. Michael

    Funny. My latest version of 24 would include 10 hours of congestion and 14 of a Nyquil-induced coma.

  18. Not Faint Hearted

    I think McGyver would be better in this situation, although I understand he’s a little out of date.

    Of course, I never watched that show either, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

    As for the toilet, DON’T put ANY chemical down that drain. It’s snake-it or replace-it with toilets.

    And Neil, darling, you’re saying that in all of L.A., there’s no plumber that can come until tomorrow? Really? You could try Angie’s List and see if there’s one recommended there.

    Good luck.

  19. Scarlet

    I hope your Keds are okay!

  20. ms. sizzle

    there’s really no way to recover from cleaning up after an over-flowing toilet. there just isn’t.

  21. wendy

    Verry Funny…This is one of my exact phobias…I can handle many a thing, but a stuffed up toilet has me recoiled screeming like a little girl…HOOOONNNEEEYYY HELP!!!Never had the water actually touch the floor…yuck. and plungers, double yuck.

    Oh the tales I could share about when we lived in a house with a septic tank..

    I’m sure you would never be able to poop again.

  22. Jurgen Nation

    AAAHAH! I’ve never seen the show, but I get what you’re saying. One thing I learned that has SO COMPLETELY rocked and come in handy: you know that little handle turny thing in the back of the toilet? Turn it until it won’t turn any more. It cuts the water off and you’ll immediately stop any overflow!!

    And then, once contained, you can wait until “Thursday” for the plumber. Heh.

  23. Neil

    Great news for men like me — This comes from the BBC:

    Risk-taking men ‘not attractive’

    Women were not attracted to dare-devil men, US researchers believe.

    Men thought the opposite sex would be attracted by risky stunts such as bungee jumping and fast driving, a study of 48 men and 52 women found.

    But in contrast, women said it was a turn-off, claiming they preferred more cautious people for partners.

    However, the team from the University of Maine in Orono said those who took risks for the thrill were likely to be respected by fellow men.  


    I knew there was a reason for my sexiness.

  24. Wendy

    With 3 sons, I have a lot of practice and experience with overflowing toilets. Trust me, it gets easier.
    Jackie Bauer

  25. fringes

    Your post yesterday was not mediocre. Just over my head. I skimmed it for Lindsay or Paris references, found none, then continued through my blogroll.

  26. Postmodern Sass

    Dear Jack,

    Here’s how to make Sophia fall at your feet. Not on the part of the floor where the toilet overflowed, of course.

    First, for future reference, there is a small handle on the wall behind or just beside your toilet tank. Next time your toilet shows signs of overflowing, turn it off.

    Second, if your problem is a plugged toilet, go to Walgreens and buy a plunger. Use as directed.

    If the tank is running, that is, if you hear water dripping when the toilet is not in use and should be silent, you probably need to replace your flapper. Go to Home Depot.

    NOT Bed, Bath & Beyond! Home Depot.

    Go to the aisle where the plumbing supplies are. Ask the plumbing associate for one of the blue pills to test for leaks. Also ask him to show you the two different kinds of flappers. You’ll need to lift off your toilet tank cover and look at the flapper, to see which kind you have.

    Go home. Put the blue pill in the tank. Once you’ve determined the source of the leak, and identified which kind of flapper you have, go back to Home Depot and pay $3.50 to purchase the right flapper. Ask the associate to show you, on the model toilet tank, how to install it. They have a model right there in the plumbing aisle for exactly this purpose.

    Go home. Fix your toilet. Impress Sophia.

    Then call the plumber and tell him to stay home on Thursday. Use the $200 you saved to take Sophia out for a nice dinner.

    Your Internet friend,

  27. psychomom

    Moms aren’t afraid of Shit!

  28. Heather B.

    Jack Bauer pretty much makes everyone look like losers. Incredibly unproductive losers who stop to pee and eat throughout the day.

  29. Tatyana

    I knew the truth will eventually come out. It always does.
    So now we all know why Neil and Sophia are separated.

  30. nelumbo

    Post Modern Sass has great tips here that I should study. Thanks. When my husband was out of town once I was guilty of leaving our toilet clogged and starting to use the hall bathroom. Then I broke that one and started using the guest bathroom. He really went Jack Bauer on my ass when he returned to the house.

  31. Melissa

    There’s only one damn plumber in your town?

  32. kapgar

    Don’t forget the swooning anytime they see him. Oh the swooning.

    I’m right there with you, Neil. He’s ruined my life, too. Grrrr…

  33. Churlita

    I don’t find Keifer…er, Jack, all that attractive. You are so much cuter than he is, so you don’t have to be able to manhandle a plumber. You can just get by on your looks.

  34. psychotoddler

    Yes..yes…when this happens I like to pretend like I’m not home.

  35. Neil

    Sass — How do you know all that? Were you once a plumber? And how much do you charge?

  36. Lux Lisbon

    Who is this Jack Bauer and where do I get one?

  37. laurie

    Boys are so silly. I agree with Ms. Sass 100%!

  38. sara lee

    What kind of Keds were they?

  39. Neil

    Sara Lee — You know, the cool classic ones, the ones you can wear without socks.

  40. Elizabeth

    Yet another example of why indoor plumbing is so highly overrated.

  41. plain jane

    1. There must be a 24 hour emergency plumber somewhere in LA.

    2. Aren’t you renting? Call the landlord or manager. Easy fix.

    3. Hilarious post.

  42. Postmodern Sass

    Neil: I am woman, hear me roar. Or at least read about how I single-handedly installed a new kitchen faucet, and it only took me all damned weekend, and four trips to Home Depot.

    I was inspired to do that by the fact that two weeks earlier, I’d solved my own leaky toilet problem.

    Be not too impressed. My toilet had been leaking — that is, water dripping from the tank into the bowl — for six months before I did anything about it.

    It starts like this: You say to yourself, did I just hear water drip? And then you reply, nah, it was nothing. But it was something, and the dripping gets progressively worse until you find yourself having to close the bathroom door so you can sleep at night.

    That’s when you go to Home Depot, and they instruct you on the Ways of the Blue Pill.

    That, and I’m just too cheap to call a plumber.

  43. Two Roads

    I need a “Sassafras” for a friend!

  44. Therese

    I love how it says “Comment on how Jack Bauer has ruined my life.”


    Poor Sophia.

  45. Dagny

    I have never tried the blue pill. Thanks for that info, Postmodern Sass. I have done all of the things mentioned before though. And yes, first and foremost is to turn off the water to the toilet immediately. Also, with older toilets, you may have to replace the entire system inside and not just the flap. (I’ve done that too.) But I have found that overflowing requires either a plunger or a snake. The main at my mom’s house occasionally gets clogged by tree roots and the only way to solve the problem is to snake the main. How does one discover this? When the toilets start overflowing even though no one has been in the bathroom for hours.

  46. Bre

    I think I’m the only person in America who does not watch that show.

  47. Richard

    Next time, look at the rising tide of crap in the toilet bowl, holler “I’m a FEDERAL AGENT!” in a growly Canadian accent — then watch the crap turn sheepish, back off and give you a crisp salute.

  48. ekramer

    now i have to go to some hotels to get you some more towels as gifts.

  49. sandra

    I was just remembering a time in college, when our toilet started overflowing. I, in a panic, pulled the handle off the toilet and then stood next to the toilet, screaming all my housemates’ names.

  50. paintergirl

    Ok I can’t stop laughing and the fact Jack would jump out of the window and torture the plumber with a snake thing is something we need more of. Is that sick of me?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial