Thursday, May 1, 2014

Instructions Not Included

After un-boxing  a common light fixture from the hardware store, I noticed that it came with a small folded booklet full of warnings and ‘instructions’ for  safe usage. To be sure I’m no genius but I am fairly confident, like most folks with a feeble lizard brain, I already know how to turn a single switch on and off to light up my life. What amused me most was that nowhere in the instructions did they tell me how to actually screw the thing in or what to screw it in to, so I wondered around all day holding the unlit bulb over my head until I figured it out.

This got me thinking about the rules of writing RULES for apparently the lowest common dementia denominators of society. If these mental giants are inherently SO confused, is it likely they’ll understand that it’s ok to stick Pop Tarts in the toaster hole, but as a slot to stash your wallet or dry those freshly manicured nails – NOT. Do we now have to rename and explain things like ‘deadbolts’ , ‘hangers’, and ‘curtains’  so our nation’s ‘soft-topped’ population doesn’t mistake common household items with terms of death?

For most guys even regular toilets require a lot of hand-holding to learn to use properly but none of the ones around this dump came with instructions or pictorial guide booklets to study. I all but avoid those new fancy dual flush eco-toilets since I fear making complex water to mass ratio math decisions in a place that used to be called the ‘RESTroom’. Maybe I need a licensed plumber to crack the code and show me what might happen if I push BOTH the number 1 (liquids) and number 2 (solids) buttons simultaneously – (JELLO?).

If instruction pamphlets are so important for mundane things then why didn’t I get an encyclopedia-sized set of caveats, care, and conditions for use with a complex conundrum like when my kid was delivered? Even after over two decades of experience, I still don’t know how she operates exactly or what buttons to push to get her to stop working and do what I want. Maybe the secret is I should master the simple but still important instruction-less stuff first, then work my way up to see the ‘heir in my way’? Admittedly I have a lot of work ahead because I’m still not sure if the toilet paper is supposed to be mounted flap out or flap in – or maybe I should just shinny up to the roll and throw ‘caution to the spin’!