plumbers rescuers

Are all plumbers rescuers at heart?

Roger wrestles with his inner rescuer.

I was visiting a manufacturer of safety equipment recently and went to use the gents and found the place flooded out. There was one guy with a mop trying to clear it up but he was like the Sorcerer’s apprentice, the loo just kept overflowing. As fast as he cleared it up more appeared. Even though I was dressed in my smart(ish) clothes and had no tools with me I managed to stop the overflowing loo and, more importantly clear the blockage with a mop wrapped in a polythene sack to act as a plunger. They offered to pay me but I refused, preferring to bask in the glory of  being their knight in shining armour.

They offered to pay me but I refused, preferring to bask in the glory of  being their knight in shining armour.

This is a feeling that every plumber knows and, for me, it helps to have some motivation that goes beyond money, but it is a bit of a drug and if I am not careful I find it creeps into other areas of my life. If for example I am walking down the street with my wife en- route to a nice  restaurant and I see somebody with their car bonnet up and their head bent over it I find it difficult/impossible to walk past. I am ashamed to say that it is even harder if it is a pretty woman, but usually in that case there’s a queue of similarly motivated men in front of me.

It was only relatively recently that I discovered that there is a term for what I do and that is a ‘rescuers syndrome’. Most of the published research on this is to do with relationships not plumbing. People find emotionally vulnerable or damaged partners and ride in on a white charger to put everything right.  My wife certainly doesn’t fit into this category so I must assume that my rescuer’s syndrome is more a hobby than a life force. Nevertheless it is there and it has manifested itself most noticeably in my plumbing and building work by doing favours for people that I hardly even know. In other words not charging them for extras I should have charged for or giving them a discount if I felt they were strapped for cash. The psychiatrist concludes that this is not really an attempt to rescue strangers but all about rescuing myself. Apparently I am trying to slay the dragons that developed in childhood.

It was only relatively recently that I discovered that there is a term for what I do and that is a ‘rescuers syndrome’ – it has manifested itself most noticeably in my plumbing and building work by doing favours for people that I hardly even know.

Even more alarming is that the experts say this doesn’t work and very soon frustration and resentment creeps in. That bloke down the road who’s leak I fixed for a tenner has just come back from a Caribbean cruise.  In truth he never asked for the discount but I feel he owes me and I am now giving him evil stares.

Armed with this new self awareness,  I am resisting all urges to act as The Good Samaritan. From this day forward it is all about me. Me first, me first.  I will not simply pass by on the other side. I will cross the road, give them a good kicking and then walk away laughing. I am now operating on jungle law, survival of the fittest, kill or be killed.  Apparently it is a much healthier attitude.

About Roger Bisby

Roger Bisby
Roger Bisby is an English television presenter and journalist, known for his expertise in the British building industry.

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