The Keynote Address at the Association for Aspiring Plumbers, by Chris Morgan

marios
I’m glad to see so many young people here with an interest in pursuing a career in plumbing. However, I feel it is my duty to inform you that if you want to be a plumber because you want to be like Mario, you are bound to be disappointed.

I know that’s tough to hear. Believe me, I was in your shoes once upon a time. I decided to go down this road because of Mario. He made being a plumber seem like the most exciting thing in the world. Who doesn’t want to be like Mario? Hell, how many of us would settle for being Luigi? And you can be, but not by being a plumber.

Will you do a lot of work with pipes? Yes, but not in the way you might imagine. Most pipes are quite small. You won’t be able to fit into them, and if you manage to squeeze through, you won’t be warped to another world. On the plus side, as a real plumber, you’ll rarely encounter fire-breathing plants. In fact, it’s quite uncommon to run into any of the nefarious characters Mario meets. No angry bullets, no egg-spitting dinosaurs, no douchebags in the clouds throwing spiky animals at you. Nobody has ever thrown a hammer at me. I have seen some turtles, but they generally seem apathetic to my presence.  So if you’re looking for action and adventure, you might be disappointed. Personally, though, I find it to be a relief that I don’t have as many enemies as Mario seems to have. Frankly, he must be bringing that on himself.

You won’t be wearing a Tanooki suit, and you certainly cannot become invisible by touching a star. I find it incredibly unlikely you will do any star-touching in your life, on the job or otherwise, but I highly advise you not to do it. I’m not a scientist, but I think it would kill you. We don’t get involved in any go-kart races on the job, though you are free to do that on your own time. Also, as of now we don’t have those water-shooting backpacks from Super Mario Sunshine, but I’ve been in touch with some scientists about that. It seems like it could actually be helpful on the job. The same goes for a hat that lets you fly, but I’m not holding out hope on that front.

Mario, of course, famously dates a princess. As such, I am often asked about the likelihood of a plumber dating a princess. There is nothing that precludes a plumber from getting romantically involved with a princess. However, don’t plan on it. If you’re planning on getting into plumbing just to date a princess, don’t bother. For starters, you rarely run into a princess in the United States of America, on account of the lack of a monarchy in this great nation. Occasionally, a princess may visit the country, or you could find yourself in a country with a princess. Unfortunately, the odds of you actually having a conversation with one, let alone striking up a romantic relationship, are slim to none. That doesn’t mean you will go romantically unfulfilled. My wife Claire is a dental hygienist. We are very happy, and I haven’t had to buy mouthwash in years.

I’m sure this all sounds discouraging, but all hope isn’t lost. You can feel free to wear a red shirt and overalls, although you may not be able to pull it off like Mario does. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s just not flattering on everybody. You are also welcome to grow a big, bushy mustache, but be forewarned: Plumbing is a messy, dirty business, and a robust mustache seems to attract filth to your face. Also, and this is important: If you aren’t Italian, please do not imitate Mario’s accent. It’s culturally offensive.

If you walk out of here and decide that plumbing isn’t for you, I understand. There are other ways to try and follow in Mario’s footsteps, like fighting a gorilla at a construction site. However, if you’re able to get over your disillusionment, plumbing can be a rewarding career, albeit one featuring a lot of clogged toilets. Thank you for your time. I’m here to answer any questions you have.

Oh, I should also note that plumbers do, in fact, spend a fair amount of time in haunted houses dealing with shy ghosts. That part is real.

Chris Morgan is the author of The Ash Heap of History and The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000. And like any true masochist, he’s on Twitter.

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