Bob Wire and the Suck Ton 3000

By BOB WIRE

Unfortunately, the phone rang.

“Wire.”

“Is this Bob Wire?”

“Who wants to know?”

“Do you remember signing up for a drawing at Food Town last week? For a hundred dollars in free groceries?”

I jumped up from my chair, letting my tuna salad sandwich flop back onto the plate.

I finally won something! “Woo hoooooooh!” The dog cowered in the corner as I skipped around the kitchen in a victory dance and yelled into the phone. “Who’s the Food King? I’M the Food King! Oh, HELL yeah. Can I get a whoop whoop! I’m getting my coat right now. This is so awesome! Hey, does that include alcohol?”

“Well,” stammered the girl on the phone, “you didn’t win the drawing, but we do have a special offer. We’ll come to your house and clean the carpet in any one room, free of charge.”

You could hear my crest falling from a mile away.

“Aw, man, that sucks! You really had me going. Carpet cleaning, huh?”

I thought about the floor in our master bedroom, grubby and soiled from a hard winter of icy mud and frozen dog crap being tracked in every day. I thought about how delighted Barb would be if she came home from work to find our bedroom carpet was clean and fresh. I thought about how a hundred bucks worth of Gardetto’s Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Chips would be the centerpiece of a massive Sweet Sixteen TV weekend.

”Okay, what’s the catch?”

For once, the desire to please my mate trumped my own selfish needs. Besides, my bracket is already shot to hell. I told the girl to send up her crew.

Two hours later I’d picked up all the books, magazines, dirty clothes, and orphan shoes off the bedroom floor. I ran the vacuum, and actually was getting excited about having that disgusting traffic pattern from the bedroom door to the bathroom door erased. Sometimes, I think it would make sense to put in pavers, like in the garden, but that’s an argument I will never win.

The dog started barking, signaling the arrival of the carpet guys. I greeted the two dudes at the front door and showed them upstairs to the bedroom. It was a manager and trainee team. The manager introduced both of them, then said he was stepping out to let the trainee have at it, but I should “pay attention” to what he’s doing.

How could I have been so stupid? Of course it was going to be a sales spiel. What did I think, some twisted textile version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was out there, offering to absolve your carpet of its sins and grunge, asking nothing in return but a few kind words and maybe a tuna salad sandwich?

No way, José. I was in for the Big Pitch.

I stood just outside the bedroom doorway, arms folded across my chest, as Mark began vacuuming. “Hey, I already vacuumed,” I said. He switched off the gleaming chrome machine after a few seconds and removed the pancake-sized filter from the housing. He threw it on the floor. It was filthy.

“Looks like your vacuum isn’t doing a very good job,” he said.

“Yeah, that thing sucks. Just not hard enough.”

Who's up for a game of Hobo Twister?

Who's up for a game of HoboTwister?

I laughed. Mark did not.

He proceeded to vacuum the living hell out of the three-square-foot section just inside the bedroom door. Every few seconds he removed another filter and plopped it onto the floor. It was beginning to look like a game of Hobo Twister in there.

“You know, we’re really not dirty people,” I said, immediately regretting my words. I was walking right into his trap.

“Oh, I know, it’s just that your plastic vacuum cleaner isn’t designed to remove dirt as efficiently and powerfully as the Suck Ton 3000™. Believe me, this happens with everyone’s floor, sir or ma’am.”

I cringed at the growing collection of filthy discs scattered on the floor. Had he actually smuggled extra dirt in somehow? I felt the overwhelming urge to take a shower. With a scrub brush. Silkwood style. Even the dog looked guilty.

“Well,” I said, after more than an hour of shocking dirt extraction, “when does the shampooing start? You got another machine you use, right? Like the Rug Surgeon?”

Mark smirked and shook his head at me like I was Tim Tebow walking into a Bangkok strip club asking what the ping pong balls were for. “No sir, this Suck Ton 3000™ right here does it all.” And it did. Before he finally got down to the shampooing, he went through a staggering gallimaufry of attachments and adapters that enabled the chromed dynamo to do everything from change a light bulb to spray paint the siding on your house. I swear to god, I am not making this up.

It can clean between the keys on your laptop, and it can blow the leaves off your driveway. It can buff the hardwood floors in your living room, and it can blast out a stubborn clog in your bathroom sink. If it involves any quantity of air being pushed, pulled, squeezed or puffed, by god, the Suck Ton 3000™ can do it.

It has a big headlight, but not just any headlight. It’s a waterproof halogen beam that automatically dims when it sees another vacuum coming. It’s self-propelled, of course, with a hybrid rotary engine that runs on mermaid droppings and emits nothing but pure rainbows while getting more than 125 CPG (carpets per gallon). The rack-and-pinion steering is augmented by racing-grade Macpherson struts, and the bag is 100% South American caiman. Full GPS and satellite radio are optional.

Mark handed me the stack of crud-caked filters and proceeded to shampoo the rug to within an inch of its life. His manager returned just in time to help him tag-team me with their final sales pitch.

Somewhere, Alec Baldwin was telling a roomful of sweaty vacuum salesmen to Always Be Closing.

The manager liked me, he said, so he was going to drop the price (today only!) from the cost of a new Volkswagen to the cost of a used Hyundai. I listened politely and patiently, then told the dirt-sucking duo that there was no way I could spend that kind of dough on a vacuum cleaner.

They packed up and left. I spent the rest of the day on the bedroom floor. The dog was not invited.

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Wanna laugh ’til your sides hurt? These ought to do the trick: Growing Up Is Hard to Do (When You’re Already Over 40)Who Will Save Rock ‘n Roll?, and The Guitar That Saved My Soul.

   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blogarchive.

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Bob Wire in the Wonder Years.

Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers.