I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel shortchanged by the instruction manual I received when I was born. Oh wait, there isn’t an instruction manual for Life. What the heck?! There are instruction manuals for everything, even chopsticks. The first time I saw those three Chinese pictures on the side of the wrapper, I thought it was a funny cool little cartoon, like the kind you used to get with that rock hard bubblegum. But once I realized they were instructions, I suddenly felt sorry for the person who had to draw those up. They were probably thinking, “I went to college for illustration, and now I’m drawing instructions for dumb people.”
I can see it now. A customer pays for his Chinese delivery and sits down in front of the TV to watch Idol. He pulls out those two little sticks locked in their last embrace. “What do I do now?!” The panic attack ensues and he eventually curls up into the fetal position while being silently mocked by the little white boxes surrounding him. If only there had been some kind of instructions!
I submit that if there can be instructions for chopsticks, why can’t there be instructions for Life? I mean, I know if you compare an Indian oil field worker in Dubai to say a Canadian bush pilot, they have very different lives. But there have to be some common problems that could easily be solved with a few simple instructions, right? Of course, now some of you are thinking, “What about the ______ (insert religious/cult text here)” ?! And you’re right. Sure, those books are helpful for a lot of situations. But I haven’t seen anything in any of them that tells you how to talk to a girl that you like. And I’ve never seen instructions in them that cover what you are supposed to do when you are trying to hang a picture, and all you have is a nail, a wall and a picture. And where are the instructions on how to tackle running out of toilet paper? Hello?! That has to be universal, right?
So that’s what I’d like to give to the world. I’m not married yet and I don’t have any kids. So maybe I should get off my butt and start writing an instruction manual for the future generation. I could make a chapter for each year of life. The first three chapters would be just pictures. Actually, the first chapter would consist of just a hand being held up with the word underneath that says, “WAIT”. (I figure for the first year, your life really isn’t up to you. So you don’t need instructions other than just, “wait.” The second chapter would have to describe in some way, “Be cute and you shall receive rewards.” So maybe a circle + adult = milk. And a jagged star + adult = :(.
Chapter three would be one of the most complex chapters because three year olds have the most to learn of any age. They are right at that point where the choices they make start to affect what happens to them. Before that, a parent or guardian will treat them however they are going to treat them, nearly regardless of the child’s behavior. But once three years old hits, you had better start workin’ it. So three is critical. Four through ten, you are building upon a three year old’s knowledge.
Hopefully a manual like this would have useful tips for boys and girls alike. At 35 I’m still finding things that I assumed my older sisters already knew that I think I just picked up because I’m a boy. And I know there is a lot I never learned specifically because I’m a boy. For instance, I know that you have to purchase, at the very least, an 18.8 Volt cordless screwdriver or the purchase is a waste of money. Really, 18.8 is even too low because those batteries are crap, and the 9 volts are a joke. But money might be an issue so there are the 18’s. You just have to be careful with the batteries. Anyway, to me that’s useful knowledge! I don’t blame my sister for not knowing that. She knows how to pick out fresh fruit correctly. I have no idea how to do that.
Let’s write this stuff down! And the next time you see someone riding their bike down the busiest street in town, while 10 cars back up behind him, you can scream out your window, “Did you even read your instruction manual?!”