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Excellent Story

Lame Adventure 6: The Hole in My Head

Flush with the windfall from our Federal tax returns, Milton and I take it upon ourselves to personally lift the sagging economy.  He promptly purchases a 42” flat screen LG TV and a Sony Playstation 3.  My cash inflow is a shade less than his so I splurge on a new shower curtain liner and a quart of Pequa drain opener.

My bathroom’s drain is slow, but I have not replaced my bottle of Pequa since I last used it a year or two ago.  Many years back, a plumber named Luis who used to service my building, advised me to always have a bottle of Pequa in my home.  He was very persuasive when he said, “This shit works.”  I like to think that there is no link between Pequa and his death from cancer a year later at age 34.

Certain that I will forget Pequa because I tend to think of it more as “the shit that works” than its plumbing industry name, I have kept the empty bottle under my bathroom sink since I finished it.  I could have tossed the bottle into the trash and written Pequa’s name on a post-it and stuck that post-it to the inside of a cabinet, but that seems like too much hassle.  It’s easier to keep the empty bottle under the sink for a year or two since that is exactly where its replacement will go.

Before venturing out to my local hardware store I bundle up because it’s 27 degrees today.  Yet, it’s not the layers of clothing I don that takes so much time, it’s making sure that I pack my two digital cameras (one a Flip video), my cell phone, a pen and pocket notebook (can never predict when inspiration might strike), two lip balms (trying to get in the habit of carrying a spare), keys, wallet, and a copious stash of tissues since my nose runs like a faucet in the cold.  Every pocket of my jacket is now bulging.  When I glance at myself in the mirror, it appears that I’ve transformed into a nursing terrier with several swollen breasts.

As I am trekking through the freeze, halfway to my neighborhood hardware store, Beacon Hardware, it occurs to me that the one vital necessity that I forgot to pack was the piece of paper where I scribbled “Pequa.”  The rest of the way, the mantra looping inside my head is, “What the hell was that shit called, what the hell was that shit called, what the hell was that shit called?”

Beacon is a family-owned and operated small business that has been on Amsterdam Avenue since 1940.  They’re my go-to hardware store since their prices are not as extortionist as their competition.  I never feel like I have to barter a kidney when I buy a replacement bulb for my refrigerator or a scrub brush for my grill pan from Beacon.  I also like being loyal to the little guy.

Mayberry in Manhattan

Entering Beacon is like entering Mayberry.  It’s such a time machine when you open the door, a bell clangs, and Bru, a mellow Labrador Retriever, is the official greeter, but today, he’s apparently not on duty.

Store greeter Bru ready for his closeup.

Instead, I see John, who immediately asks me if I need help.  That’s a loaded question in general, but I tell him, “Possibly in a moment.”

I’m still determined to remember the name Pequa on my own.  Therefore, I head over to the shower curtain liner shelf, grateful that I still have the capacity to recall that I need a shower curtain liner.  After locating a liner in my favorite color next to black, clear, I accept reality that this attempt to recall the name Pequa is hopeless.  I grab a liner and head over to John.  I am so flustered at my inability to remember Pequa, I become inarticulate when I approach him.

John:  So what else do you need?

Me: I need …

I pause pregnantly not wanting to say what I’m thinking, “The shit that works.”

John:  Yes …?

Me: I need the stuff that … uh … unclogs the … thing.

Yes, I blanked on the word drain at that pivotal moment.

John:  Oh!  You need Pequa!  Over here.

John walks over to a high shelf, and I follow him.  He reaches up, removes a bottle and hands me a quart of Pequa.  The package looks almost identical to the one I last bought during the second term of the Clinton administration.  I immediately look at the price, $7.99.

Me: Huh, it’s only gone up $2 in twelve years.  I was anticipating it would double. You know this um … um … hmm.

I pause resisting the urge to sound impolite and say “shit.”  Psychic John comes to my rescue again.

John:  Stuff works.

Me: Yeah, this stuff works.

This shit works.

22 Responses to Lame Adventure 6: The Hole in My Head

  1. I have similar plumbing problems and I haven’t heard of this ‘stuff’ –so thanks for the top tip:)

  2. must write this down. lots of drains to keep clear. never heard of it. let’s see if they have this ‘stuff’ around these parts. thanks to you and to your late maintenance guy. haven’t lived in the city for some time but I remember that place well. yes, a trip back in time.

  3. Bru – what a handsome brute!! Pequa – something I’ve never heard of!! We, too, could use “shit that works.”

  4. Hellow Pequa….have never heard of you but already think that you are the shit!

  5. One correction-We have been on the EAST side of Amsterdam since 1940. We were across the street since 1900!

  6. This is the only product that delivers what it states on the bottle. They have other products available. For those of you that still have cess-pools try their product cess-flo. You will never be less than satisfied with the results.Also MADE IN THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA

  7. Madeline & Roger

    Pequa is liquid gold for your drains….Before you call “Joe the plumber” (even though he is a nice guy) use Pequa to unclog your drains……….

  8. Madeline & Roger

    Pequa is liquid gold, believe us we know……before you call “Joe the plumber” (even though he is a nice guy) use Pequa in your drains…….

  9. Madeline & Roger

    Pequa is liquid gold, believe us we know. Before you call “Joe the plumber” (even though he is a nice guy) use Pequa in your clogged drain.

  10. I have a bottle of Pequa Heavy Duty Drain Opener (red print on white plastic bottle) that was opened and partially used perhaps ten or twenty years ago. Yes, I know you’d like me to go out and buy a new bottle, but can you tell me if it is actually safe (and effective?) to use the half bottle that I have?

    Many thanks if you can help. I’ll check back for an answer, though I’m guessing I won’t get one before I either use it or adopt an alternative method!

    • I think that’s a question best run past Pequa or the people that work at your local hardware store, but if you’re concerned that vintage Pequa could screw up your pipes, I’d just pop eight bucks and buy a new bottle — probably half that amount if you reside outside NYC.

  11. Thank you Lame. True enough. Was just trying to save a voyage to the hardware store on a 90 degree day. :> Actually, I may have solved the problem for the moment with a few pots of boiling water. And yep, it would still be a good idea to follow it with the drain cleaner.

    :>
    MJM

    • Since I hold my useless BFA in film as opposed to the infinitely more practical plumbing (that coincidentally was not offered at NYU during my day), the best advice I can give you is to confer with someone with genuine knowledge in this area i.e., “your helpful hardware man” (or woman). Good luck with unclogging your drain.

  12. worked 4 me 2~8/11-good shit–evaporator!

  13. Funny story…it is powerful sh*t! $5.99 at the Lavallette Hardware (down the Shore), and it REALLY works…don’t let any one kid you! My toilets were driving me nuts…sometimes they’d both flush; sometimes one would flush and the other wouldn’t; sometimes neither would flush. I went the very expensive route: “Joe the Plumber.” Not THE “Joe the Plumber,” of course…actually Felix, Fillmore and Frank. No kidding! One stuck his little gizmo down the bowl and twisted…Voila! the freakin’ thing flushed! $135.00!! Second guy pulled the toilet up, and then told me his boss didn’t like him taking up toilets! His boss made him (by cell-phone, of course, as he was working…I wonder if they ever drop their phones…Oh, never mind…) His boss MADE him put my toilet back…without doing any other thing…except caulk around the bottom after placing the toilet back without replacing the wax seal! Leaked for weeks…but, it flushed! That cost me $1,200.00, but this “nimnode” did some other things for me. Last thing he said to me was: “My boss wants to talk to you about your plumbing…” I’ll bet he does! Recently, I had Roto-Rooter out (8/25/2011) in response to a very nerve-wracking and (at least to my son who was here visiting) traumatic experience. My wife demanded that I purchase this stuff called “Glub” or “Glug” or some such name. I wandered into Lavallette Hardware, determined to satisfy her demand. Same feeling came over me as I tripped over a gigantic retriever of some type, splayed out at the entry as if he owned the joint…peobably does! I could not, for the life of me, remember the name of the stuff…Embarrassed, I wandered around for awhile, picking up random items I didn’t need until Big Mike stepped up and cornered me by the cabinet hardware. “May I help you, Sir?” I panicked…went into that same mode…”Ah, ah…yeah…I need some, uh…some…what’s that stuff called? Glub? Glug? You know, for clearing stopped-up drains…?” Big Mike’s eyebrow went up…”You mean…Pequa? I sell tons of it to all the hotels in the area…Here ya go, friend! Use this…this “stuff” really works!” Hmmmmmmmmm…I brought the “stuff” home, and my wife was really pissed-off. “What the hell is this “stuff”? “Guy at the hardware store says it really works…” I mumbled meekly. Then she disappeared to do her mysterious work. I went outside and drank a coke. My wife came out after a few moments to join me. Our son decided to go back in the house to make a bolgna sandwich. “Hey, Dad…somethin’s gurgling. Oh, sh*t! The toilets overflowing!” I ran inside. Indeed, BOTH toilets were overflowing. Every sink in the house was gurgling, and the tub was filling up with…well, you probably know how this turned out. My wife cleared the drain(s) alright…but she didn’t follow the directions PRINTED CLEARLY ON THE BOTTLE! “Use no more than 8 oz. at a time.” She used the whole 16 oz. bottle! Sh*t was flying everywhere! My son is traumatized. My wife went into hiding. Frank, the Roto-Rooter Man, didn’t charge me for the visit…he must have felt sorry for me. He told his dispatcher that: “Customer removed obstruction himself.” Then he turned and said to me: “In twenty years clearing drains I have never seen anything like this! That sh*t really works!”

  14. Love it-same thing here -worked!

  15. Really not one of the greatest-though unclogging is nice!?