Garbage Disposal

“I did a bad thing,” Lisa said to me with a doleful look on her face.

“What did you do?” I said.

“I put tea leaves down the garbage disposal and they got stuck.”

It had happened before. A wad of vegetables goes into the sink instead of into the trash can and suddenly everything is backed up. I’ve become proficient at disassembling the plumbing underneath the sink to pull out tubes full of partially digested vegetable pieces.

“I know, you told me not to do this again,” she said. “I just wasn’t thinking. But, I tried to run it and I just kept running it and running it and then all of a sudden, ‘Whoosh’ it all gushed out the bottom of the disposer.”

“What do you mean, ‘it came out the bottom’?”

“Well, look at it.”

I bent down and I could see tea leaves hanging off the bottom of the disposer, as if they had somehow traveled through this electrical canister we use as a kitchen tool. Something had clearly blown inside, probably a gasket of some sort.

I really hoped I could fix the mess just by clearing the pipes. But, to my chagrin, water still poured forth from the disposer, dragging more limp tea leaves with each flood of new water.

So, I took it apart, and found there wasn’t really much I could do about it. The thing looked like it had been installed as an antique 30 years earlier, all rusted and fragile on the inside. It needed replacement.

At Lowe’s I found the garbage disposer section and quickly zeroed in on the one I needed, the 1/3 horsepower. Also available were ½ horsepower and ¾ horsepower units. I bought the 1/3 because it was cheapest, but it left me wondering what I could do with just a little more power.

¾ horsepower would provide us with something really substantial. I could visualize tossing old tennis shoes and tin cans into the sink rather than making the arduous trip to the trash can. How much stuff can you grind up with ¾ of a horse? Goats eat that stuff. Wouldn’t it make more sense to measure it in goat power? At least they could measure it in whole animals. How do they figure out how much work 1/3 of a horse can actually do?

The thing was called a Badger. Do badgers eat old tennis shoes and tin cans? “Excuse me sir, how much badger power does this thing actually have?”

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