From the Pastor: Come alive, Fix-It Felix!
When I was young I sometimes dreamed and oftentimes wished that characters from TV and the movies were real. Oh, to be able to hide a real ET in the bedroom, or to romp through the woods with Baloo while singing about the Bear Necessities! Not all such daydreaming was so innocent, though, for I would have loved to find myself in a Charlies Angels caper, and take the place of either Bosley or Charlie, but (thought I in my adolescent bravado) showing them what a real man was like. (Or, perhaps, I was just a bit more holy than I give myself credit for, since I was, after all, pining away after Angels!). But--alas--I outgrew those childhood fantasies and haven’t, for quite some time now, desired a make-believe character to come to life. I am now serious, mature, and far beyond those early years of wishful thinking. Or, at least I thought I was was until fairly recently.
Now I want to have a real Fix-It Felix. around the house. OK, so he is not as exotic as a space alien, as fun as a cartoon bear or as beautiful as an Angel, but talk about practical... This is the character I want to come alive, and don’t get any weird ideas in your head just because he is a guy. After all, I think ET and Baloo were, too, and none of you thought anything of it a few sentences ago. Those of you with children probably know who Fix-It Felix is. A few years ago he co-starred, so to speak, in an animated movie called, “Wreck-It Ralph.” Ralph was the bad guy who went around destroying buildings and Fix It Felix was the hero who rebuilt anything Ralph wrecked. I finally had a chance to see the movie just about the same time that everything in our guest bathroom got plugged up. The movie was cute and silly. The backed up sinks and tub were nasty. Everything in the movie got fixed, and everything was put right (in fact, better than before!) in a short time. The bathroom resisted all efforts. Felix’s magic hammer did far more good than my decidedly un-magic plunger, gallons of drain cleaner and even a plumber’s snake.
When we (the maintenance man and I) finally gave up and called in the professionals, I thought I was finally getting my Fix-It Felix. This guy climbed onto the roof and snaked the pipes from up top. Nasty water still filled the tub and sinks. Hours later, the toilet had been removed, larger, longer snakes had been brought in, the outside lines were cleared, and... he was no Fix-It Felix. Another day and another two plumbers sent to assist and presto! Nothingo! Fix-It Felix was still not real. One more day and two more, very experienced plumbers came to wave their magic snakes and, well, scratched their heads and couldn’t figure out how the toilet flushed while nothing else worked and why the sinks were not draining into the tub. In desperation, a hole was cut into the wall and a pipe was cut. Nothing was fixed but at least it showed us that the snakes were not going into the right pipes, so they would never work to clear the mess. I brought out the old blueprints showing the plumbing system and it was determined that the ceiling of the room below needed to be cut into to find the problem. The blueprints were incorrect and the pipes went in a different direction than indicated but two more holes later and the problem was apparent. To the plumbers, that is, not to me. But this time they assured me that they knew what the problem was and that they could fix it. Tomorrow. And so they did. Perhaps a couple of pounds of rust came out of the pipes when they opened them. It had been piling up in a place no snake could reach and chemicals designed to dissolve hair and grease would have, obviously, no effect on metal shavings. But the problem was fixed and water drains.
Fix It Felix did not show up with a magic hammer but the experts eventually got the job done. Just in time, too, for Cardinal Chibly Langlois from Haiti and other big wig priests (I mean that affectionately, not pejoratively) are coming this weekend (and will be here when you read this). Reverting to my childhood, I am praying that the Angels keep Wreck-It Ralph away from the rectory (wreck-tory?) and church for at least a week, for I could not Bear Alien-ating the Cardinal.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka