A Blue Man's Tale
I laugh a lot but never more than at myself. A Blue Man's Tale is about one of those moments. Mercifully, I was alone - almost alone anyway because when it happened, I was beside myself. At first, it was shock then disbelief and then it all became, too funny.
On the road with Man in Motion Tour twenty five years ago, I had many different responsibilities. Friends forever was always a part of it, but the harder we pushed, the more everyday became just about survival. I was the mechanic. Let me clarify that, I was the wheelchair mechanic but not the kind of mechanic who could fix anything, like air conditioners, rockets and broken hearts. But that never got in the way of me from sticking my nose in fixing things.
So there I was, either charged with or having volunteered, to fix a vital mechanical aspect of the motorhome. The job required someone with the finesse to play a 12 string guitar, someone who had no fear of the unknown, and someone who knew exactly what he was doing. I met the first qualification. The others, not so much. But I was willing to try and that had to count for something.
I don't mean to bore you with too many technical details but I do need you to be very clear about one of the most critical aspects of motorhomes. And to do this, I'vs done a quick Google Search, the result of which you can see below - a beautifully written, expertly illustrated, passionate explanation of my what my responsibility entailed on that day, twenty five years ago:
Introduction To RV Plumbing
"The RV plumbing system depends on two external forces, one to bring water into the rig (fresh water) and one to remove the waste (sewer). It's this system that really makes RVing so luxurious. Imagine being able to travel with your very own bathroom. No more rest room toilets! There might be some unpleasant aspects to deal with water in an RV, but they are a small price to pay!"
I'm not sure I really I should to go any further explaining what happened. But for those who have never dealt with the above mentioned 'unpleasant aspects' of motor home life, here goes:
We used a powerful blue liquid for the toilette flushing system while we pushed around the world, living in the motorhome. It was full of chemicals and burned your skin but it did the dirty job. I remember it being called something like Selsun Blue. Yes, I know that sounds weird because Selsun Blue is a dandruff shampoo. But maybe we mixed our own special flushing product by mixing the foul smelling bright blue sewage liquid with the not so bad smelling, Selsun Blue Dandruff Shampoo.
Draining the motorhomes sewage system should have been simple enough, but the drain plug was stuck, really stuck. Being a mechanic, I banged on it with a hammer and even a tire iron. That technique should have worked but it didn't. Then I put my whole body into one of those Hercules poses and I yanked on the drain plug with every fibre of my being, yelling at it to open.
I knew the septic tank was overloaded but the plug wouldn't budge. That should have been my first clue to leave it alone, but not to be outdone by a septic tank, I gave it one more go.And just when I was about to blow a vein in my neck, the plug exploded from the drain, followed by a river of blue sludge that engulfed me. I was smart enough to close my eyes and shut my mouth but not smart enough to get out of the way. And so it was, I became a blue man in every way. Just in case you wondered - now matter how much I scrubbed, the blue hue stayed in my hair and coloured by skin for weeks and I just couldn't get rid of the smell that followed me around.
Standing there in the indignity of it all, I was beside myself and then it all became very funny. Funny enough to laugh out loud and think about starting a Blue Man Band. After all, my career as a mechanic was in shambles.