The Poetry of Instructions

Today my wife and I picked up and assembled our cot and change table. While the end result is ‘stand back and smile’ wonderful, the process of navigating instructions to get there was like being sunblind in a mirror maze. Seriously, the people that write these things must be illiterate or wildly gifted… or maybe it’s just me.

I mean, why is there always at least one bolt too few or too many; always one piece that no matter how you try to fit it, seems upside down and why does it feel like even an octopus would have difficulty juggling all of the necessary steps with its eight sticky legs?

I have had people say to me on occasion that poetry is willfully and perversely obscure, but for me, nothing is more frustratingly oblique than the diagrams that attempt to show me how to put something together… so just maybe I am yet to find the poetry in instructions?

I am sure I will have many more opportunites to keep looking…

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “The Poetry of Instructions

  1. LA

    I love the crocheted blanket. It is just beautiful. I’m all for Raiders of the Lost Craft! πŸ™‚

  2. Bwahahahah – looks like it all fell into place in the end. It reminds me of this: http://www.mrjohnclarke.com/poetry-poems-05.shtml

  3. You think those things are hard to build with the instructions…wait till you get to the instructions for assembling simple toys. πŸ˜‰

  4. Bwahahaha – you are certainly not alone in that Department πŸ˜‰ I refuse to put things together (and couldn’t even if I tried) and my hubby just throws away the instructions and works it out by himself, which never ceases to amaze me – there is always something missing as well (he usually throws out the screws and uses his own).

    • gnunn

      I wish I was brave enough to throw it out and just do it, but that frightens the hell out of me too! Lucky my dad is away on holidays as he would be shaking his head right now.

  5. Full empathy. And SLP is right on the money, not just the assembly of the toy, you need instructions to remove the toy from the packaging.
    I remember when Sonia’s room was finished (with 4 weeks to spare!), I used to lean in the doorway and picture her sleeping in her cot, even before she was born I used to look in and stare. She’s 9 now am I still look in while she’s sleeping.
    Graham, you’re in for the best ride of your life, and all the frustrating instructions and adult-proof toy packaging are nothing compared to the absolute elation you’ll feel.

    • gnunn

      Mark, I am feeling the elation already… each rub of Jules’ belly fills me with excitement! And yes, I have done some staring at the cot already. It’s a beautiful thing!

  6. Carmen Keates

    Yes, in the instruction stakes, just stick to Lego! Lego never lets you down.

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