"Oh, wow! Thanks, Santa!" My son held the box in his hands, as I inwardly cringed, knowing his next words. "Dad, will you put it together for me?"
Ahhh. There they were. Those words of torture. "Sure. After we open the rest of the presents, I'll put it together." "Or at least try to," I added, under my breath. Some families have the toys already put together on Christmas morning. Not here. You see, my words when I'm involved in these projects are not always family friendly. Hearing cursing and then discovering your dad putting a toy together would certainly put a damper on the whole Santa story. So we wait.
Soon, it was time to meet my fate. Contrary to popular belief, I do not talk to myself during these endeavors because I'm crazy. Rather, it's to help maintain what little sanity I have left. Keeping everything inside would just be too much.
Taking a deep breath, I opened the box and found the instructions.
"Step one... Find the English instructions." I found the English instructions. On page 234. I looked through the steps quickly, trying to estimate how long this would take and how complicated it would be.
"Step two. Obtain an Engineering degree from a reputable university.
"Okay. Here we go." I struggled through the instructions, muttering under my breath the entire time, complaining about the sadistic toy manufacturer who must have stock in aspirin, adhesive bandages, and psychiatric therapy.
I was nearly done, when I discovered a missing piece.
"Honey," I called out. "Have you seen the doohickey?"
"Yeah. You know. It connects to the thingamabob. It was right here."
My wife looked at me like I had lost my mind. I had. "No, Hun. I haven't seen it."
I looked around and finally found it, then attached it. As I stood up, holding the toy up in triumph, I found an extra part I had been sitting on the entire time that looked rather important.... the battery pack.
I looked back in the instructions to find where I had gone wrong. Reading out loud, I found the right part. "Step three. Attach battery pack (C) to arm (B)." Arm (B) was now covered by arms (D) through (Z), panels (a) through (v), and screws (aa) through (zzz).
My son walked into the room. "Dad, when can I play with it?"