How I know how to fix a toilet


Someone close to me recently asked how I know how to replace toilets.

I was a teenager, maybe 17, and my father was away for the weekend. Since the repair-loathe curmudgeon couldn’t interfere, my mother and I conspired to fix a leaky toilet handle during his trip. I tightened the new handle too tight and cracked the porcelain. 

Did you know they don’t really sell standalone toilet tanks? You have to replace the entire unit. So we, my mother and I, did just that. We pulled the decades-old toilet from its resting place, cleaned the area, stressed over the possibility of dropping an essential screw or wrench down the open pipe, and eventually got the new toilet in place. It only took two wax rings to get it right – and this is all before the days of YouTube and instant visual repair guides right in your home.

Dad wasn’t too happy we’d made any sort of change to the house, and he found little things to quietly complain about, but screw that, we changed a toiled with no training. We’re friggin’ heroes, in a way.

Since then, I’ve changed several toilets. I’ve also hidden things underneath some toilets to be found by whomever changes them next.

You know how Jack White wrote poetry inside couches while working as an upholster? I’m like the Jack White of toilets.

I believe there isn’t a single repair problem you can’t attack head on and succeed.