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The electrician cometh.


I was playing tennis when the phone call came from my wife. She sounded excited as she said, "The electrician is coming in an hour."

"He's been saying that for a month. Why should we believe him now?"

"Because he initiated the call. I just know he'll be here. It's just a feeling I have," she said.

When I arrived at the house, my wife was dusting the furniture and rearranging the flowers. "You had better shower," she told me, "and wear a shirt and tie. I don't want him to think we can't afford his services."

"But he's only an electrician," I protested against her.

"He's more than that. He is the key to our entire fuse-box problem. Something has been blowing every electrical appliance in this house, and I'm not going to take it anymore."

I showered and put on my best dress shirt and Italian silk tie, plus the blue blazer I save for British royalty and American workmen.

My wife was chilling a bottle of wine. "I hope he likes Pouilly-Fuisse."

"He wouldn't be in the wall socket business if he didn't," I reassured her. "I still don't know why we couldn't get another electrician when he didn't show up last month."

"It's impossible to find one because they're a dying breed. Most electricians won't even allow you to leave a message on their telephone answering machines." She powdered her nose, sighed, and said, "I hope he likes us."

"What difference does it make if he likes us or not?" I asked.

"If he doesn't like us, he'll walk out the door and put a curse on our fuse box. Now, as soon as he arrives, take him into the living room and make him comfortable. I've put pictures of the children out on the tables. I want him to realize how important family is to us in case he's a Republican. Above all, don't discuss politics. I don't want to lose an electrician over the prayer-in-school issue."

"What do you discuss with an electrician?" I wanted to know.

"Benjamin Franklin. After all, he was the father of electricity. Then there was Thomas Edison. Electricians think Edison was the cat's meow."

"I could talk to him about the stock market," I suggested. "I understand that anyone who is a licensed electrician automatically becomes one of the Fortune 500."

My wife said, "I'm a nervous wreck. It's been such a long time since I met a man with pliers."

"Be yourself," I told her. "An electrician puts on his pants one leg at a time, just like a plumber."

"I'd feel so much better if I had cleaned the cellar."

"You're worrying unnecessarily. After he knocks off the Pouilly-Fuisse, I wouldn't be surprised if he goes down the stairs, tears the fuse box off the wall, and finds the short in no time."

"I only hope you're right. I suppose we should consider it an honor that he would even stop at our house," she said. "Do you think we should call the Larrimores? They have been waiting for an electrician for four years."

"That would be rubbing it in. Besides, I'm not sure they'd know how to behave in front of a licensed electrician. It wouldn't surprise me if they fell to their knees and made d-- fools of themselves."
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Title Annotation:humor
Author:Buchwald, Art
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:column
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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