Mario's exit from the plumbing business sent shockwaves throughout the Mushroom Kingdom and across the Internet. His brothers and sisters in the pipe profession, however, aren't sweating the exit — publicly, at least.
"I am told that once a plumber, always a plumber!" Kristin Fleckenstein, the communications director for the United Association, a leading plumber's union, told SYFY WIRE in an e-mail. "So Mario may have 'retired' after a long, successful career in plumbing but he will always be a plumber at heart."
Just hours after, Fleckenstein followed up with a message from Mark McManus, the general president of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada.
"Wherever Mario’s future adventures take him, he can always be assured that he has the most honorable skill set underneath him," McManus added, clearly proud of the Nintendo star's association with the plumbing profession.
Marc Edwards, a Distinguished Professor of civil engineering at Virginia Tech, was similarly appreciative of Mario's work. "I mourn the loss of our cute plumbing icon," Edwards, who was named "The Plumbing Professor" by Time magazine in 2004, told SYFY WIRE. As for Mario's legacy, Edwards noted that "He was multi-talented — a pleasant diversion from harmful 'plumbers crack' stereotyping."
But not everyone offered such a tribute. In a thread on the plumbing subreddit, one commenter pointed out Mario's shortcomings as a skilled tradesman.
"Good! He and his brother were a safety hazard," the redditor DV8_2XL wrote. "Constantly entering underground piping without a confined space procedure, adequate ventilation, air quality monitoring or a rescue plan."
Another commenter offered a more nuanced, bittersweet reaction.
"A bit sad to see the only plumber kids' character leave, but at the same time I think it was always kind of a joke about Mario," Syenite wrote. "As a kid it made me feel that somehow being a plumber was shameful; as a plumber now I couldn't have been more wrong."