Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some Assembly Required

During the move from Seattle to Scottsdale last year, I took along three bookcases totaling ten feet wide by seven feet tall. One two-footer went MIA. A second one, four feet wide, was virtually destroyed. With only one bookcase surviving, it was time to order new ones. I’m not one for hitting the road and looking at what the various furniture stores have to offer — aside from the fact that they are usually overpriced. So, I took the lazy and cheap way out — I ordered two of them online. What really turned me on to these particular bookshelves was the fact that it said, “Some Assembly Required.” That alone was music to my ears as directions and me don’t always see eye to eye (I’m convinced that it’s a male thing). As it turned out, however, it should have read, “Total Assembly Required, Must Have a Degree in Engineering.  Individuals with Only Two Brain Cells Should Not Attempt Assembly. Ask for a Woman’s Help.” Yeah, like that last part will ever happen. We bachelors have too much pride to ask for a woman to help on a simple project of this nature; even though we secretly admit to ourselves that they are better at reading instructions than we are.  This last sentence will self-destruct after reading.

As I said above, there were two new bookshelves laying on the floor in their packages. The assembly of the first one by little ol’ me involved a string of  never-before-used swear words, five drinks, two packs of smokes, a smashed thumb (still relearning how to use a hammer), and four chill pills. Total time to assemble — four hours. The instruction booklet, in size two font, was in English, Spanish and French. I probably would have been better off choosing to follow either the Spanish or French versions. Of course, the instructions and everything else were made in China (what isn’t these days?). The spelling and grammar were definitely at a fourth grade level — which didn't help as I’m not quite there yet.

They showed pictures of the parts page (nuts, bolts, shelves, etc.) but gave no quantities. The biggest fear of assembling anything is that they did not send enough parts. In my case, they over-sent, which immediately made me question whether or not I had left something out during assembly. When they said to screw something in with your fingers … forget it. The screws required my biggest hammer. Then, to add insult to injury, they took their big “Made in China” label and glued it right to the finished side-panel for all the world to see. I tried peeling it off, but that didn’t work. I then tried hot, soapy water on a rag, but that didn’t work either. I eventually resorted to looking through my arsenal of dangerous chemicals and finally chose Goo Gone … it worked.  Disclaimer: I have no fiduciary interest in Goo Gone, but that stuff really, really works miracles. Anyway, I’m not sure who the actual engineer was that chose the particular glue for the label, but he or she must have first developed the glue for the space shuttle’s outer tiles. If Goo Gone didn’t work, my next option was going to be a couple of M-80’s that I had leftover from the 4th of July. Hey, when desperate, one must resort to desperate measures.  Right guys?

When I got up the following morning, I took on the second bookshelf … completing that one in one hour flat…minus ten minutes of “stupid time” on my part. The bottom line — they look nice … well worth the investment in spite of the “hell” the first one put me through. Be forewarned: the next time you (males only) see something that says “some assembly required,” look out. If you aren’t willing to ask for help (from a woman), then prepare yourself by having enough smokes, alcohol and drugs on hand to tackle the project. Or you could just invite your male buddies over to watch sports and get wasted while assembling whatever it was you were stupid enough to buy in the first place. If their IQ happens to be in your range (mine hovers around 50 -- on a good day), then you can fully expect disaster.

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