For those about to plumb: I salute you.
On the train this morning, I was reading Michael Crichton's State of Fear and gazing out the windows at Lake Roland and the beautiful woods around the light rail. I was thinking about how sometimes it's hard to remember why you're doing what you're doing. It's especially hard when you're doing something either boring or unglamorous. And as we passed over some nasty creek (river?), I thought about cholera.
Cholera kills you by giving a serious case of the solid runs. Well, not quite solid. Anyway, your bowels move so much, so frequently, and so intensely that you lethally dehydrate, sometimes within four hours. The disease essentially spreads through infected water. The cycle goes something like this. I get infected. I get seriously bad diarrhea. Somehow, my infected diarrhea gets in contact with your water supply. You drink some water (or eat food washed in water). You get infected. You get seriously bad diarrhea. Et cetera ad nauseum. As you can imagine, this can be a really bad problem in the developing world.
When a pandemic strikes, we usually look to doctors to fix the problem. And they do a great job, but somebody else does enormously important preventative work. Arguably the most effective way of preventing the spread of cholera is water purification. That involves both purifying the water supply and keeping the water supply pure. Who's best at making that happen? You got it. The members of our local United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters.
Thanks, UAll.* Keep keeping us safe from cholera and Montezuma's revenge.
*Haha, sorry. Couldn't resist.