A Twice Told Tale*

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I’ve been known to say my job was ultra-stimulating and there were never two days alike. I was completely sincere in saying so.  It wasn’t until I was asked to go to Dallas for International Code Council hearings a few weeks ago that I realized I’d completely wiped from memory the last time I had to attend a plumbing code conference. Psychologists call this type of memory block “PTSD.”

Mind you, I have nothing but respect for the people involved. It’s an important job and not for the impatient. The guidance of codes results in clean drinking water and functional plumbing systems, derived from the input and testimony of public health and sanitation directors, building officials, engineers, design consultants and hundreds of others testifying at code hearings lasting seven days . . . for twelve hours a day . . . spanning three years. Then they start all over again.

In Dallas, rumor had it C-SPAN3 was set to film the proceedings until finding out they’d been double-booked.  Taking priority for the crew was shooting a new episode of Paint Drying at the Library of Congress.

Awaiting my turn to testify, I found myself longing to be home cleaning out the gutters. 

If you’ve attended a code hearing, pray tell what you remembered (if you can un-block it.) And whatever did you do to pass time waiting to be called?

*Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man. William Shakespeare.


4 Replies to “A Twice Told Tale*

  • Kevin Wong on said:

    Mike, code hearings may be dull, until an outcome goes against you. As painful as they are, they are a forum to engage and be heard AND to make changes. I have found that origami helps with the waiting, and the 4 inches of paper, but it usually leaves my neighbour playing with a paper folded frog or butterfly for the duration.

    • Michael Keleman on said:

      I’ll have to remeber origami next time around! Seriously though, codes are indeed important, and I salute all those involved.

  • Steve Pearse on said:


    I have to similiar meetings and can not help but totally agree with you. Though I do recall a person attending saying to me that boring as it is the fact that Plumbing is to society an extremely important part especially in the protection of preventing disease and maintaing our health. Disposing of Food waste through an appropiate sewage system does just that.

    • Michael Keleman on said:

      Great analogy Steve. It reminds me that sometimes we hear using a disposer is too easy, and therefore can’t be good for the environment. Convenience is certainly one advantage our plumbing sytems provide that is often taken for granted; similarly, we take codes for granted as well.

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