Thursday, January 6, 2011

Manual labor

Well my long holiday break is near its end. It was nice while it lasted but the rest of the world wants to get back to work so I must oblige as well. I don’t want to give the union folks any ideas but it seems if they would delay reporting to work on January 2nd to make stuff, then I would have nothing to buy and could sleep in another few days or so.

While Christmas was lovely, I will have to say the weather was a constant concern. No I did not have any real problems but it was always on my mind. I typically travel a lot this time of year so dodging storms and wondering which airports would remain open is a bit of a chore. Snow seemed to follow me around this year but luckily I avoided direct contact. My car did get frozen to the parking lot however which was fun and a freak tornado messed up some houses on my way home but other than that the mayhem was minimal.

The after Christmas ritual was that I finally settled in to read all the instruction manuals for the piles of consumer goods traded over the season. Like most men, I refuse to read any instructions upon unpacking. But UNLIKE most guys, eventually I actually look forward to digging into the pages of those diminutive little ‘how to’ books. I don’t know if it is the compact size, the colorful photos, or the poorly translated English that intrigues me so.

This year the instruction manuals were more work than usual though. Every book now is printed in a variety of languages. Some pages have each paragraph switching between French, English, Spanish, and Chinese, while others have books within books for each respective language. I cannot tell you how disappointing it is to sit down with an instruction manual that should be 50 pages of sleep-inducing reading, only to find that a mere 5 pages is in your native tongue.

Geez I can’t get to sleep in only 5 pages of a tiny little book – what are these manufacturers thinking. I need at least 10 pages of instructions just to allow my mind to wander a bit and another 10 to get drowsy. I guess I need to buy more complicated toys next Christmas but these LEGOS manuals are just so darned interesting and colorful too. My New Year resolution is to learn to read ‘How to’ manuals in at least 4 languages. After all how hard can it be? … all I need to know 4 colors and when to push and when to pull!