Monday, July 27, 2015

Three of the Scariest Words

There are three words which strike fear in the hearts and souls of men and women alike. Three words which know no boundaries and affect people from every walk of life.  It does not matter what language you speak or your socio-economic status, those three words stop mankind in his tracks.

What are the three words that cause such genuine fear?

"Some Assembly Required"

I am betting those words just caused an uncontrollable shiver of revulsion to run down your spine. Seeing those three words may have even triggered a flashback to pulling an all-nighter trying to assemble a special gift so it was ready when your child or loved one woke up the next morning.  Or maybe you have one of those nightmarish memories of trying to assemble a baby crib or other baby paraphernalia.

My flashback is from when I was a teenager. My parents decided I did not have enough storage and bought me a new wall bookcase unit.  It was one of those fancy all-in-one units that looked really neat in the store. 

The store's merchandiser had neatly organized the books on the bookshelves, the desk section had been equipped with the perfect desk set organizer, and precisely folded clothing was beautifully arrayed inside the drawers.  When my parents saw this behemoth, they swore they could hear the angels in heaven sing as they imagined all of my belongings neatly stored and displayed......... instead of being stacked or strewn across the floor of my bedroom.

This white six foot high and ten foot long laminated particle board wall unit was not sold fully assembly, but for an extra fee, the store delivery personnel could assemble the unit for us.  My dad puffed up and said he was not paying extra for something he was perfectly capable of handling.  He had all of the necessary tools at home, and after all, if he could fly jumbo jets around the world, he could certainly follow some simple directions on where to put a few nuts and bolts.

We brought the thirteen boxes of various parts home and carefully piled them up in my bedroom according to the number labelled on the outside of each box, which was printed right next to the label which stated "Some Assembly Required".  We opened box #1 and quickly dug around for the book of instructions.

My dad leafed through the booklet and discovered all of the instructions were written in a foreign language.  He and my brothers looked through the box together to see if there was another set of instructions.  There had to be another booklet! 

My mom quickly called the store. Nope.  There was only one booklet of instructions. They informed her to "just follow the pictures".

The realization of what my dad had gotten himself into hit full force.  He politely excused himself and went to the garage.  For several minutes we heard things being banged and slammed around in the garage.

My mom stood at the doorway to my room with one hand on her hip and an exasperated look on her face as she listened to the chaos in the garage.  After a few minutes she announced "Well, I think your dad may need a minute or two to himself.".

A little while later my dad came back inside. He was ready to get to work and had a hammer in one hand and a set of screwdrivers in the other.

As one of my brothers and I looked at the directions together, we discovered the main language was German.  He was in his second year of German and I was in my first, so we started reading the instructions together while my dad used the pictures to figure out the parts we could not translate.  This was the blind leading the helpless.

It took us 2 days to assemble that enormous wall unit with all of its drawers, doors, and the drop-down desk.  When the assembly was complete and we were all standing back admiring our work, my dad calmly announced "This unit will never be moved.  If we sell this house and move, it gets sold with the house.  Oh, and just so everyone knows:  no more "Some Assembly Required" furniture will ever cross the threshold into a house I own.  Ever.".

It was a nice announcement and it certainly held up for a number of years, until his first grandchild arrived.  Then he got tasked with assembling cribs, pack n' plays, baby bouncers and toys of all kinds.  But, as he has said each time since then, at least all of these directions have been in English.

Christie Bielss


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