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03/15/2004: "small victories"

I just conquered a soap dispenser, and I'm all happy about it.

You know the wall-mounted hand soap dispensers you usually find in public washrooms? Over the weekend one of them in the men's washroom had a new refill installed. However, when I went to use it, it simply didn't work.

It's the kind where you push on the front with the ball of your thumb, and soap dispenses into your palm. In this case, nothing dispensed, and the lever didn't move much at all. While I could have used the other dispenser, it contains an antibacterial soap, which I don't use on principle. Thus, I decided to see if I could fix this malfunctioning dispenser.

It wasn't locked or secured in any way, so removing the cover was easy. Figuring out what to do next, however, was a different matter. I'm by no means a janitorial supply expert, so I had to fiddle around, pulling and poking to see what I could take out or off to get to the problem. Eventually I had the soap bottle insert out, and was trying to see how the mechanism actually dispensed soap, when I noticed that the return spring for the level had become dislodged, and was blocking the lever's movement. All I had to do was yank the wayward spring out, replace the soap bottle, and voila - a working dispenser! Of course, the lever didn't return on its own accord, but at least the dispenser was functional.

I had a satisfied smile on my face as I re-assembled the dispenser and finally got to the task of washing my hands. I don't know why, but managing to fix such small, seemingly trivial items gives me great satisfaction. It's like I've suddenly made the world a better place. I guess you could say that's true, but it really just boils down to now having a choice of soap in the men's washroom. Whatever. It's my victory, and I'm claiming it.

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