Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tab 'A' goes bloody where?!

Dad inherited in full measure the Scottish instinct for engineering combined with the Mohawk flair for construction. An admirer of his once remarked that you could "Put Jim on a desert island with three monkeys and a hammer; come back in six months, and he'd have two ships in the water and a variant model on the production line."

He never came across something he couldn't build (or tear down). And what was happily referred to as "Ethnic Engineering" was a particular specialty of my father's -- I have fond memories of a white-faced MIT School of Engineering graduate having to sit down abruptly after coming face-to-face with what Dad had done to an oil-derrick with gaffer-tape, baling wire, and thirty feet of bamboo.

Anyhoo, any child of my father ought to be able to suss out a Made-In-China shelf kit in less than an hour.

Grr.

LawDog

25 comments:

Farmgirl said...

No, those things aren't engineered. They're inter-dimensional constructs that require two more hands, and three more senses than we have.

The fact that so many of them eventually get put together is a combination of luck, and alien intervention.

I'm sure of it.

KD5NRH said...

Uhh...you put the planks on top of the first two cinderblocks, the next two cinderblocks on top of the planks, and so on.

Not exactly rocket science.

Bob said...

I figure you should have it whipped into shape in three or four days.

Library-Gryffon said...

I usually go for the diagrams (assuming that there are any) rather than the written instructions which normally seem to be of the "English as she is spoke" school.

Only originally written in Hindi, and translated to English using Mandarin-Hindi and Mandarin-English dictionaries by someone who speaks only Mandarin.

Da Curly Wolf said...

heh. I've recently decided that any shelving I want to get built will come from scrap lumber from other peoples trash at the end of the month. Or any fencing replacements I happen to run across. I've got a boatload of nails from 83 When Alicia blew through Houston. got nails and screws everywhere. Guess you could honestly say I've got a few screws loose. :P

Anonymous said...

possessive: father's
plural: fathers
LawMom

PopsPhotos said...

Instructions for kits are written by psychologists trying to drum up work.

Instructions which say "simple," "easy to build" and "snap-together" are written by psychiatrists looking to drum up work.

LawMom, would that be as in "Father's tales of our fathers?" :D

Pops

Matthew said...

Some genes do skip a generation.

TOTWTYTR said...

I once bought a shower enclosure that said "Easy To Install" on the box.

Three days later...

I had the "Easy To Install" part of the box on my work bench for a dozen years just to remind myself of the ordeal.

threadbndr said...

When you are done with that, do you mind coming north and tackeling one from Sweden?????


WV = Monants <---- How long it will take threads to get the IKEA shelf installed

Da Curly Wolf said...

Pops,
Instructions are for people who can't work things out on their own. Or something like that. That being said..shelves? I've put so many of the bleedin things together over the years it's ridiculous. Mechanic type stuff? yeah I kinda need the book.

Trini said...

Ugh, good luck with that...

Cybrludite said...

Not what I was expecting on reading the title. I was expecting a tale about our intrepid hero being called out the local bathhouse...

joe said...

Kind of reminds me of a ship I served on about a dozen years ago. It was built in Germany in the late 60s and re-flagged to US registry. By the Japanese. Needless to say, some of the valve and switch tags were interesting...

Gopher said...

What Curly said: I can build those things in my sleep. Actually they are more fun after a 12 pack.

HerrBGone said...

It must be the instructions, as Library-Griffon said.

I recently found something I wrote some time ago that had apparently been translated from English to some other language. I know not what. And then retranslated back into English, I know not why or by whom. Only that whoever it was probably didn’t speak either language very well. And then the new and unproved version was reposted on the web. I found the whole thing screamingly funny – in a disturbing sort of way…

So, yes, I must agree. “By inserting tab A into slot B is a happy thing of much beneficial goodness” may have something to do with your difficulties.

BTW: I think we should coin the term “Transobfuscation” for this sort of thing.

BTW2: Word verification: “hypicom” Um, no, and no…

DirtyBlueshirt said...

You're problem is you're forgetting the lessons of your father.

First get rid of the instructions. Then you start putting pieces together in such a way they look right. Apply hammer and/or duck tape until those pieces stay. Iterate until you have one piece. If it looks unstable add bailing wire for tensile and bamboo for compressive loads.

Finally figure out what the contraption is good for. This may or may not be the purpose for which you bought the item.

Anonymous said...

No, Pops, that's as in "any child of my father's."
Which is why I leave supermarkets manic because the signs say "Peach's $1.98 a pound" or "Slicer tomato's."
I also object to 'slicer,' 'baker,' and that sort of thing, with the noun turned into an adjective without benefit of the laws of grammar.
LawMom

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

LawMom: You'd probably love the store down in Norfolk that had signs posted above the aisles for those who might be looking for "can meat" and "can juice". ("'Can juice' do what?" was my first response.)

WV: redratio - opposite of blueratio, I guess....

Nathaniel Firethorn said...

Honowable Rawdog, is most wise to considaw histowic fact that Chinese invent spaghetti, gunpowdaw, gaffing tape, and Muwphy's Raw.

- NF

Anonymous said...

We had an associate pastor at our old church who got his name turned into a verb after we kept discovering things that were, well, seemingly put together with luck and some weird form of haphazard wizardry. And inexplicably, they worked. Such things were immediately explained as having been "Steve Myers-ed."

LawMom, it's nice to meet someone who shares my grammar pet peeves. I was starting to think my dad and I were alone.

JL

Anonymous said...

Law Mom,

You forgot plural possessive, or it that possessive plural ...... whatever

fathers'

Hangtown Bob

Rorschach said...

It's all those engrish instructions...

Anonymous said...

No, Hangtown Bob. I know the Dog only had one father, therefore, the singular is the focus.
LawMom

Shalom said...

HerrBGone: This reminds me forcibly of "Star War: Backstroke of the West".

http://www.dynamicdiscord.com/BrianStuff/Episode_3/episode-iii-backstroke-of-west.html

This was what happened when the anonymous producers of a bootleg DVD of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" translated the English dialogue into Chinese and subsequently back into English, or rather "Englsih" as it was shown in the DVD's subtitle menu. I had a stomach-ache halfway through reading that. People were clamoring for George Lucas to include the mistranslation as a bonus when he released the real DVD, but he didn't bite.