Murphy's Plumbing
Saturday, February 12, 2000

(GK: Garrison Keillor, SS: Sue Scott, TK: Tom Keith, TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)

.....brought to you by Murphy's Plumbing.

GK: It's gets harder and harder to get a plumber this winter. You notice how when you call up a plumber, you get put on hold?

SS (ON PHONE): All of our plumbing representatives are busy right now, talking to other distraught customers. We'll be with you in just a moment.....

GK: You used to call and some guy answered and now.

SS (ON PHONE): Your phone call is not particularly important to us because we get thousands of them daily, but if you'd like to continue holding, good luck.

GK: Hours later....

TR (ON PHONE): Yeah, this is Dave. What seems to be the problem?

SS (HYSTERICAL): There's water rising in the basement! The furnace is out! We're burning furniture for heat! Please! Come!

TR (ON PHONE): Lemme see if I can make it this afternoon. Maybe 4 or 5.

GK: The national plumber shortage. Everyone's talking about it.

TK: You need a plumber? I got a plumber.

SS: Does he make house calls?

TK: Yeah.

SS: What does he charge?

TK: $400/hour. Five-fifty on weekends and before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m.

SS: No problem.

TK: One more thing. The basement has to be really clean.

SS: Oh?

TK: Otherwise he won't set foot in it. And you have to pay in advance.

SS: Really?

TK: Cash. And don't forget to tip.

SS: Tip? a plumber?

TK: Twenty percent. You didn't know that? (MUSIC)

GK: It's not the way it used to be with plumbers. You used to call up and they came. (KNOCKS. DOOR OPEN)

TR: Plumber!

GK: It isn't like that anymore. You call the plumber and a guy in a blue pinstripe suit comes.

SS: You the plumber?

TR: No, I'm his lawyer. This is the contract for the work he's about to do.

SS: A contract???

TR: A thousand dollars an hour plus 1.5% of the assessed valuation of the home. And there's an exclusivity clause.

SS: 1.5%?

TR: You want me to come back in a month or two?

SS: No, no, this is fine! Fine. (MUSIC)

GK: So you sign, and a couple hours later....

SS: Are you the plumber?

TK: No, I'm the assistant. Here to do the prep work. I need four clean white sheets and four down pillows. Okay?

SS: What's that for?

TK: You don't expect him to kneel on the bare concrete, do you? (MUSIC)

GK: And a few hours later the plumber arrives.

TR: Pipe wrench. Twelveinch.

TK: Pipe wrench. Twelveinch. (REPEAT IN OTHER VOICES, THREE TIMES)

TR: Apply the wrench to the collar.

TK: Apply wrench to collar. (REPEAT, THREE TIMES)

TR: Turn counterclockwise.

TK: Turn counterclockwise. (REPEAT, THREE TIMES)

TR: Snake.


GK: Plumbers. It's not the way it used to be. Now they have their own show on public radio. Pipe Talk.

TK (MAGLIOZZI): Okay, here's a call from Deborah in Poughkeepsie.

TR (MAGLIOZZI): Hey! How's it going??? (THEY LAUGH)

SS (ON PHONE): Not so bad. Got a leak in my pipes.

TK (MAGLIOZZI): Not so bad. Listen to her.

TR (MAGLIOZZI): Check with your urologist! (THEY LAUGH)

SS: And my toilet's running.

TK (MAGLIOZZI): Listen to that!

TR (MAGLIOZZI): If your toilet's running, you better catch it! (THEY LAUGH AND LAUGH)

GK: Plumbing is changing but here at Murphy's Plumbing, we try to hold onto the old ways.

TR: Hi. This is John. What can I do for you?

GK: Other plumbers are going for the glitz, the glamor, the buzz, the action, the social life, the p.r., but here at Murphy's, we try to help.

TR: Remember. Never drop cigarettes in the toilet, it makes them soggy and very difficult to light.

GK: More than glitz, more than glamour, maybe your plumber ought to be Murphy's.

SS & GK: Don't despair, just call up Murphy Plumbing No job too big or small. We'll be there in just couple minutes, Murphy's of St. Paul.


(c) 2000 by Garrison Keillor

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy