Thursday, October 26, 2006


Due to a drawing project snafu I needed to buy a small light box today. I arrived home with my new purchase and tore open the box. I nearly tossed the instructions right into the trash but stopped short, remembering that my last failure to read instructions involved the melting of a large piece of aluminum foil to the bottom of my electric oven. Did you know that aluminum foil could melt? Neither did I, but page 17 of the oven manual sure did, and in great big letters, too.

Anyway, let us take a walk through my new Artograph Lightracer’s instructions together, shall we?


1.) Read and understand all instructions before operating.

You’d think that if the Artograph Company was truly concerned about this, it would have stamped this instruction all over the product itself. Instead, it was printed in 10-point Times New Roman, and positioned one-quarter of a page down on the very document that the Artograph Company suspected I wouldn’t read in the first place.

2.) Supervision is necessary when used by or near children. Do not leave unattended while in use.

If I’m using my Artograph Lightracer near children, does that mean that I need to be supervised? And, man, if I were a pot smoker, “Do not leave unattended while in use” would’ve messed with my head for hours. Don’t bogart that instruction manual, m’friend.

3.) Do not operate this equipment with a damaged cord, or if it has been dropped or otherwise damaged, until it has been examined by a qualified electrician.

So, after the qualified electrician has examined it and confirmed that it is indeed damaged, I can go ahead and operate it, right? Fair enough.

4.) If an extension cord is necessary, be sure it has a suitable current rating. Cords rated for less amperage than this equipment may overheat. Be careful to arrange the cord so that it will not be tripped over or pulled.

A sticker on the bottom of the light box warns that there’s a whole .2 Amps
surging through my Artograph Lightracer. What kind of extension cord wouldn’t be able to handle that? Perhaps a wee extension cord replica that was snagged from the parlor of a Victorian dollhouse.

5.) Always unplug from the electrical outlet when not in use. Disconnect by grasping and pulling the plug from the outlet; never yank the cord to disconnect the plug.

Sound advice, this. The wiring inside those cords is fragile. To be extra cautious, I will avoid touching the cord altogether and instead use a butter knife to pry the plug from the socket. Now, that’s using the old melon!

6.) Do not immerse in water. If the unit receives water damage, do not use until inspected by a qualified electrician.

Again with the qualified electrician. I’m beginning to suspect that these instructions were written by a qualified electrician with a weakness for the dog track.

Here’s another warning that you’d think would’ve been plastered all over the place. I mean, if the Artograph Company made a point to include this bit of common sense in its list of IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDS, the company must have fielded complaints related to it at some point. You’ve got to figure that at least one Poindexter thought it wise to run his Artograph Lightracer through the rinse cycle before using it for the first time in order to get rid of the scratchiness. You know -- like sheets. Otherwise, why include it at all?

And for that matter, why not include other common sense warnings like these just to make it an even 10?

7.) Avoid contact with bandsaw. Contact with bandsaw may cause the equipment to become cloven in two or more parts, which may affect the usefulness of the tracing surface.

8.) Do not spread with hummus and attempt to ingest. This equipment is not tasty or edible.

9.) This equipment is not a suitable substitute for a parachute or other aviation safety device.

10.) Do not affix to forehead with glue gun. Doing so may impair vision and make passing through low doorways difficult or impossible.


Anonymous said...

11. Do not mindlessly hum the tune to Don McLean's Vincent (Starry, Starry Night) while using the Artograph Lighttracer Box. You're good at tracing flowers, but, don't compare yourself to brilliantly talented, tortured souls.

Artograph Instructions Manager said...

Dear Storchy,

Thank you for your excellent suggestions for additions to our Instructions Manual. I can't believe we didn't think of #9 before.

We will be implementing these additions immediately, and passing the revised version of the Manual along to a qualified electrician for inspection.

dave pasternak said...

A friend of mine used to work in a camera store. They special ordered a watertight camera case for a customer who was going scuba diving while on vacation.

A couple of weeks later, he was back and VERY unhappy.

He had gone off on vacation, loaded film into his camera, put it in the watertight case and went diving. He snapped away and finished his roll of film.

At that point, while still underwater, he opened the watertight case, removed the camera, changed his film, put the camera back in the watertight case and went on taking pictures.

Imagine his surprise when the camera was ruined.

So he wanted to return the watertight case and be reimbursed for his camera. The camera store refused.

He sued the camera store and the manufacturer of the watertight case.

He won.

Why? Because nowhere in the instructions did it say "Do not open your watertight camera case while you are underwater."

Trixie said...

I'm surprised they didn't throw in "Do Not Eat Contents of This Package". Isn't that one of the standard warnings? Maybe that means you can eat it!!! Mmmmm.....lighttracer box.......

extrastorchy said...

Thanks, Brains--now I've got that song going through my head as I draw. Well, it's better than Brand New Key, anyway.

Ah, Christ. . . .

Manager--That qualified electrician will use your cow as a gambling ante, and no amount of tethering shall keep him from it.

Dave -- Those waterproof cases cost just about as much as the cameras themselves. Your story proves that there should be laws against idiots having really nice camera equipment, just on sheer principle.

Trixie -- I've licked it, and have determined that it is definitely not something I want to eat. The instructions didn't warn against licking it, though. Its plastic is pleasantly nubbly on the sides.

cheated are the clouds said...

Us guys never read those lame instuctions, could explain the curly hair, and several burn marks over my body, very funny stuff

jeff hart said...

how many storchys does it take to screw in a lightbulb?