Dear God, whatever you do with the rest of your life, DO NOT MAKE TOAST BEFORE READING THIS FIRST!
At least, that’s the impression I got from the little instruction booklet packed inside the new toaster we just bought.
Actually, I didn’t need to read the manual, but I did anyway, just to shut my family up. I live with a wife and two daughters (all women), none of whom understand how guys work. I’ve explained to them numerous times that I’m a man, and when a man buys an absolutely necessary household appliance such as a toaster, a coffee maker, or a new TV with a screen the size of an Olympic volleyball court, he does not have time to read lengthy instruction booklets written by (and for) idiots. Men have important things to do with their day and don’t have time to wade through boring manuals where the first twenty-seven pages consist solely of legal liability waivers and stupid safety statements like: “WARNING: Do not insert the enclosed Phillips-head screwdriver directly into your eye ball.”
I keep telling my family that I don’t need a book to understand such things. Having been a guy all my life, I know that the best way to install any electrical appliance is to stick as many plugs as possible into every corresponding hole that looks to be about the right size, shape, or colour, and then stand back, protect your vital body parts, turn everything on and see what happens. It’s a time-tested process that has proven to be 100 percent effective nearly 32 percent of the time.
Granted, it’s not a perfect system. A few years ago I bought my first high-definition television and, after I set it up, my wife and daughters (as I said, all women) complained that the picture didn’t appear to be in high-definition. I gave them a perfunctory smile and patiently assured them that they could relax. We had purchased a high-definition TV, and therefore, by very definition, the picture they were seeing was appearing in HD.
For days, every time we turned on the new TV, the females of my family complained that the picture didn’t look right, and each time I had no choice but to roll my eyes in an increasingly impatient male fashion and assure them that men know more about these things than women, and that they should stop bringing it up, as they were clearly getting into something far over their collective technological heads.
Then, after about two months of complaining, my daughter got this ridiculous notion to look at the TV’s instruction manual. She removed the booklet’s protective plastic coating and began reading, and somewhere on page 48 – right around the paragraph that warns you to not to use the television as a life preserver – found a section that talked about “inputs.” Then she grabbed the remote control, hit a few buttons, and suddenly there was a dramatic improvement in the quality of the picture.
I argued that the improvement could be totally coincidental – that maybe, at that exact moment, every television station in the world decided to upgrade their signal from high-definition to an even higher definition, but nobody was buying it. Since then, whenever we buy a new appliance, my family won’t stop pestering me until I actually read the manual that comes with it.
It turns out that I could have definitely skipped the little book that came with the new toaster though. There was a section on how not to cut your arm off when removing the toaster from its box, a bold-type warning about not eating the Styrofoam packing material, and some legal details that seemed to infer that the warranty is immediately void as soon as you plug the toaster in.
If only I didn’t still have that stupid microwave with the broken clock that’s always flashing “00:00,” my kitchen would be complete.