12/09/2011 03:44 pm ET Updated Feb 08, 2012

Plumbing the Depths

Morning, ma'am, I hear you're having a few problems with your toilet? Lead the way, and I'll take a look, and perhaps more importantly, a listen.

If there's one thing we at Psychoplumbalysis Plumbers do better than any of our competitors, it's listening.

So this is the little fellow - and you say he's been having trouble flushing like he used to, and sometimes he's running?

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that when a toilet that has previously slept through the interim between flushes soundly, without any continence issues, starts running, it's often a sign of a deeper problem.

Of course I'm referring to the possibility of sexual assault.

Let me ask you, has your husband started having more "private" time in the bathroom recently? After which he, and the toilet tank, appear nervous and sweaty?

It's true, men past the age of 50 do have different bowel issues than younger men, but it's also true that many men - men that friends and loved ones would describe as good people, loving, always ready to jiggle a handle for their plumbing fixtures - often use that innocuous fact as a cover for their illicit activities with their own bathroom appliances.

I'm sorry, I know this is uncomfortable, but as a certified psychoplumbalysist, I am legally obligated to ask. After regular wear-and-tear on the seals, inappropriate behavior with the u-bend, usually by a family member, is the number-one cause of sudden-onset running problems.

But if you insist that's not it, I'll just change out this valve and we'll call it a day. You'll notice the rubber's gone a bit stiff - that's usually a sign that they're about at the end of their shelf-life, and ready to replace.

Or that they're paralyzed with fear, and thus incapable of functioning as they used to.

Alright - moving forward, you also mentioned "slow and sluggish flushing." And you say plunging hasn't worked? Hmm - that could mean any number of things. It could be that people have been trying to flush items that plunging can't 'unstick' so to speak - things like sanitary products, overlarge amounts of tissue, or their own crippling sense of inadequacy and a life wasted - or it could be a low-level personality disorder. Toilets with OCD, for example, often want to flush, but can't, unless their users know their "numbers" and triggers. Besides the flushing mechanism, I mean.

Incidentally, plunging doesn't work on that, either.

So let me just take a look and see if I can find anything blocking this little guy up.

Hmm...this could be something...let me just go a little deeper here...

Oh yeah. There's your problem right there - this toilet's got a lot of resentment against his absent mother combined with a lingering sense of sexual shame based on the overly strict religious upbringing she imposed on him before running off with a traveling Port-a-John.

I'm sure you'll agree that, under the circumstances, it's unsurprising that your toilet has been bottling things up.

I speak figuratively, but also literally. I'm going to need to have several more sessions with this little guy - if your insurance doesn't cover mental-health visits for your bathroom appliances, we can work out a pricing plan.

I'm also going to need the gray bag over by the door with my drain snake.