The shortage of qualified surgeons in this country has led to drastic measures being taken. Here is a transcript of a lecture given recently to new surgical interns by Master Plumber Fred Johnson of Johnson’s Plumbing and Heating.

“Let’s go over the design plans briefly before we begin our operation, fellas.”

“We’ll proceed from the top, here at this access panel, and then move our way down to the waste stack, here.”

“Behind the access panel opening you’ll usually find several enamel fixtures in a curved array, with multiple small valves supplying fluid to the fixtures and the upper end of the system.

“Solids and liquids introduced to the system are pushed into the drain by this auger unit, down a three degree slope, to a 90 degree ell-coupling here. Be careful working around this elbow area since touching the inside of the pipe will cause the system to immediately back up.”

“Now, below this fitting there are two 3/4 inch drain lines, which converge here in this flow control valve. This valve is responsible for separation of gas, liquid and solid material, as well as functioning as a PA system for the entire structure.”

“We’ll only concern ourselves with the fluid and semi-fluid lines at this point people. We’ll let the gas fitters work on the other line later.”

“Past the control valve we come to a central reservoir which holds all the in-feed from the drain line above. This tank has control valves at each end and, after suitable mixing has occurred, the contents of the tank are slowly drained through the lower valve into a 1 inch sewer line here.”

“This sewer stack is approximately 28 feet long, made of flexible tubing, and winds around the central interior of the structure, through several 90 degree bends, elbows, and 45 degree offsets. As it proceeds, some of the material inside the structure is siphoned off using various branch lines.”

“Just so you’re aware, another system is responsible for filtering liquids in this structure. That system has two replaceable strainers here at the back. Waste liquid drains from these filters into a P-trap holding tank here and hence to one of two different exit valves, depending on the structure. This is what we male plumbers call the fire sprinkler system. That’s a bit of anatomy humour there.”

“Other tanks contribute fluids and chemicals to the mixture as it moves down the stack, but generally the material continues without interruption.”

“The processed material then enters this 2 inch stack, which is in essence another, larger holding tank. This tank regularly empties, usually into a municipal waste system, through this flow control valve, here. Yes, the exterior valve can look like a politician, Joe – good one!”

“This plumbing system operates with high efficiency, but can occasionally slow to a crawl, or speed up beyond system capacity. The reasons for slowing down can be anything from too much cheese entering the system to a lack of water irrigation, which can also lead up to a complete blockage and pipeline shut down.”

“The system can also work at extremely high speed, particularly after a ‘hot wings and beer night’ at the local pub, or if the system is contaminated by a previously untested curry.”

“When working on these pipes, care must be taken with open flames or spark-producing tools since the system can vapour-lock, and flammable gases are known to accumulate on a regular basis. Venting is as important here as in any plumbing system, so remember that as you solder or weld anything.”

“So that’s it folks! Any questions before we start on this patient? No? Good.”

“Someone get my work gloves and I can get started with the pipe cutters. We need a work light in here! Who’s got the snake?”

“We have to hurry people – the electricians next door need help with their brain surgery.”