Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A plumber called to fix a
Example: [Brunvand, 1986]
Origins: Another tale of the feckless adulterer found out (with a stock folkloric ending demonstrating the perils of seeking revenge), this legend has been circulating since at least the late 1950s.
One of our readers asserts he saw it happen around 1983 while supervising the pumping out of a septic tank:
On one occasion, the homeowners (husband & wife), the real estate agent, and the septic tank pumper met me on-site to perform this inspection. When the tank was exposed, and the concrete lid removed, the tank was brimming with dozens of floating condoms ("albino bottle-nosed dolphins" in HD vernacular!). The man and woman both gasped, the wife told her husband to step in to the house right away. We could hear a huge fight ensue indoors. The wife then slammed the door and sped off in the family car.This is a case of ostension, the "coming true" of a legend that existed prior to an occurrence of similar events.
I later learned that the tank had been last pumped only two years prior to my inspection, and that the wife had had her "tubes tied" for at least several years prior to that. They were the only two people to have lived in the house during that time. You do the math!
Sightings: This legend was used as a plot device in the 1959 novel The Devil in Bucks County.
Last updated: 1 July 2007
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