Being a parent gives you great confidence in your abilities, until you bring home a box that should be filled with joy the night before a major holiday. The exterior of the box depicts smiling parents and smiling children playing with what you think is the perfect toy. There is also a picture of a screwdriver with a tiny caption reading “Adult Assembly Required”. You scoff at the idea of your child using a screwdriver to assemble their own gift and think “What am I, an idiot?”
So, you open the box. This process takes an hour and a box-cutter because it is glued shut on all sides with mortar. Once opened, the box contains 3,000 pieces of Styrofoam which are stuck to every single piece inside the box. You painstakingly remove all of the pieces and enough Styrofoam to fill a landfill. When you have all of the pieces laid out, you are confused because some are labeled with numbers, some are labeled with letters, some are labeled with double letters and they fill up your entire living room.
You take a deep breath and begin looking for the instructions. While looking for the instructions, you find a plastic bag that is filled with nuts, bolts, screws, dowels, and what you think might be some wall anchors (this doesn’t hang on the wall, does it?). Finally, with a sigh of relief, you find the instructions.
The instructions are written in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Sanskrit, and possibly Wingdings. You see no English anywhere in the manual, but that’s okay because there are pictures too. There are pictures of some tools, so you run to the garage and grab your toolbox. You start with step 1A and realize that there are also steps 1B-1Z before step 2 commences. You slowly work your way through each step after running back out to the garage to get things you never thought you would need, like a chainsaw and a flamethrower. You also visit many different websites and call many different family members trying to convert measurements (What is a cubit?!?) and solve calculus problems. As you prepare to begin the final step, you send a text to the guy that you graduated with who is now an engineer. Maybe he can help.
You look at the clock when you finally complete your last required gymnastics move to put the last dowel in place, and you realize that the project has taken you seven hours. You stretch, pat yourself on the back and admire your creation. There is Mr. Potato Head smiling back at you.