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Although my son says only wimps read directions,  I really need them to assemble mechanical stuff that I buy.

Just recently Florida friends sent us a crate of oranges.  We had an old citrus juicer that didn’t work very well,  and so now with all those oranges to squeeze I decided it was time to get a new one.

I sprung for a rather costly,  electric model,  and the next day the Amazon guy – quite a regular visiter lately –   dropped it on my doorstep.

Carefully following the directions in the user manual I placed the Juice Bowl ( fig E ) on the Motor Unit ( fig N ).  Then I positioned the Pulp Filter ( fig J )  and the Reamer ( fig D ) onto the Drive Coupler ( fig M ).

I next attached the Lid  ( fig A ) which was a little frustrating at first as the little flanges didn’t seem to fit in the little slots on the Juice Bowl ( fig E ).  But after intoning a few choice four-letter words,  I finally got it all assembled.   It was well worth the time and effort and now my husband and I have delicious,  freshly-squeezed  OJ every morning!

And recently at the dentist I was called on the carpet for not flossing my teeth regularly.  I have a Waterpik,  but it’s rather old,  has to be recharged periodically,  and honestly I haven’t used it in months.   So for the sake of my dental health,  I decided to order the new,  sleeker,  battery-operated model.  The next day my friend the Amazon guy was back.

I opened the manual and turned to the English-language instruction page.   Luckily the Waterpik came fully assembled except for the 3 AA Batteries ( fig 8 ) that thankfully were included.  I had some trouble getting the Battery Door ( fig 3 ) off,  and after inserting the batteries,  I had more trouble getting the damn thing back on.   But I finally did,  and now you can tell my dentist I’m flossing every night!

Call me a wimp,  but I couldn’t have done all that without directions,  and now do you know if you lose a user manual you can usually download another from the company website.   In fact some products don’t even come with manuals any more,   just links for printing them out.

And since you can find directions for most anything on the Internet nowadays,  I think my next project will be to google   “living with a spouse during a pandemic”,   and  “how to raise an offspring”.

As I remember,   neither of those came with a manual.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: been there, funny, well written


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Congratulations on your recent assmeblies, Dana! And I, too, believe in directions. As per my own story, my frustration is when the directions are written badly. (I could give you more examples from my DIY past.) But I will at least always start with the directions.

    That said, the best part of your story was that next-to-last paragraph. I chuckled and couldn’t agree more. Getting these things right could sure use a bit more guidance!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Good one, Dana. I got the cutest book from a Brandeis classmate this past week – “How to Babysit a Grandma”; just adorable, meant to read aloud to little Rosa when she’s a bit older and comes to stay with us, full of cute bits of wisdom of things to do so she isn’t worried about being alone with us (of course, she wouldn’t be coming for a quick over-night visit and returning the next day to her parents, but it still a cute book).

    And I’m glad you are flossing more regularly. I still do it by hand at least once a day!

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    LOL, Dana. Unfortunately, husbands and kids don’t come with manuals or directions. And Betsy’s right about new manuals for raising grandkids. Even though our children survived, there are all kinds of new rules out there.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    Fun story, including the friendly Amazon guy. I tend to forget about all the “how to” videos on the internet, but you could probably google how to get through the pandemic or raise offspring and find something—no guarantees on the usefulness of the results of course. It seems quaint to expect instructions with a product anymore—just register all your information go to our website! Nonetheless. congratulations on the new functional juicer and dental device—well done.

  5. Marian says:

    Great story, Dana, and an even better conclusion. There should be manuals for social interactions of all kinds … I’ve had mixed results with websites and unfortunately lost the instructions (which came on one sheet) to how to program our HVAC system and couldn’t figure it out completely when I wanted to make some changes. I can muddle through manually but could never find the instructions on the company website or the entire internet.

  6. Suzy says:

    Well done, Dana! I love all the figure letters and numbers that you include, no doubt copied verbatim from the manual. Seems very funny in the context of the story. Glad you are happily juicing and flossing now.

  7. Jim Willis says:

    Dana, I’m with you on my feelings about assembly directions. I always feel I can put it together without directions, usually leading to me undoing several steps and starting over. Then there are the times when the words and meaning just flat get lost in translating it from Chinese. Thanks for sharing how you cope, though!

  8. I can clearly see that you (1) apply directions in order to (2) assemble your (Item A) juicer and (Item B) waterpik. I admire you for your (c) attention to detail when it comes to (3) ordering and (4) assembling your new (Items A, B) appliances. Having also survived the pandemic with Item C (spouse), I can suggest that you (procedure 1-C) insert both spousal left thumbs (Items D, E,) into juicer (Item A) or (procedure 2-C) use license plate frame (F) to mount Item C (spouse) horizontally to back bumper of automobile (Item Z).
    On second thought, it would probably get lonely without him.

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