February 11, 2006

Assembly Required.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:38 pm

Screwdriver.jpgDemonstrating for once and for all his boundless sense of adventure, or his utter recklessness, my buddy Eric has taken on the task of putting this beast together. So far, the score is Nordic Beast-1, Eric-0. I suspect that, if he doesn’t shoot the thing while it is in a semi-assembled state, he will eventually prevail, although the job would probably go a bit easier with a tall drink of Mead.

One of the lessons I have learned the hard way is that if something “requires assembly,” or, worse yet, is advertised with the words “Some assembly required” it is to be avoided at all costs. It is why, for example, I am using a barbecue grill that is sorely in need of replacement. The assembly of that grill years ago took the better part of half a day, left me with a part that seemed to go nowhere and made for some nerve-jangling moments the first time I fired it up. Upon finishing such a task some do-it-yourselfers report feeling a great sense of accomplishment. I, on the other hand, look at the completed object that just stole a piece of my life with nothing by utter contempt.

Which brings me to the desk at which I am now sitting.

It is a fairly complicated bit of furniture. On the top it has a unit that contains vertical (two sizes) and horizontal cubbyholes and a two-door cabinet on the right, with spring-loaded doors held closed by magnets. On the left top is a diagonal shelf for the monitor. The body of the desk, on the right side, contains one of those pullout things you can write on and two drawers on auto-close sliders, one drawer being “file drawer” size. On the left is a rollout thing that is designed to look like three drawers, but is, as I said, a rollout thing in which one can, I suppose, place a scanner or a similar widget. I use mine to store paper. I am quite certain that it is an O’Sullivan product. The closest example of one that resembles this desk that I could find is here. Mind you, mine is considerably more complicated.

OK, got the picture?

Way back when I wanted to buy my first computer, Mrs. Parkway, being very supportive of my then new-found interest in things cyber, said, “If you want to buy that ridiculous thing, you better damned well figure out where you’re going to put it.”

We, therefore, took a trip to Office Max, or the other big box “office” store – I can’t remember which, where I saw this unit all assembled. Knowing that it would have to serve as a regular desk in addition to the place where I could set up “that stupid computer” it seemed to fit the bill.

I asked the sales guy when it could be delivered, and he said, “What kind of car do you have? We could bring it out now.” At the time, I had a station wagon that was roughly the size of Finland (used for hauling band equipment around), so I said, “I have a big wagon, but I think that the desk may be too tall to fit.” He said, “No problem, the top and the bottom are packaged separately.”


So, I pulled the car into the Delivery Area with my receipt in hand waiting for someone to bring out a piece of furniture. You can imagine my surprise when this big bullyok of a kid rolled out two farookin’ huge boxes and called my name. I asked, “Is that the desk?” He checked my sales receipt and confirmed that those two farookin’ huge boxes were my “desk.”

He said, “Yes sir. You have to put it together.”


“No problem, sir. They are easy to assemble.”

Mrs. Parkway, seeing the horror on my face, said, “Oh, I’ll help you. How hard can it be?”

With that, the big bullyok of a kid lifted each box into the back of the Wagon the size of Finland.

When I got home, I realized why the store had hired the big bullyok of a kid, because there was no way I could lift either of those bigass boxes. The only way we could get the thing into the house was to open each of the bigass boxes and bring the pieces in a few at a time. After about twenty minutes of back and forth between the house and the Wagon the size of Finland, my entire living room floor was covered with hundreds of pieces of wood, bags of screws, washers, springs, rollers, sliders, plastic thingies, magnets and God knows what else. It was horrifying.

I was beginning to wonder how much I wanted the computer, after all.

“Let’s take a look at the instructions,” I sheepishly said.

Once unfolded, the instructions covered as much floor space as the average-sized bathroom. There were drawings that, to me, were as complicated as those for the Space Shuttle and text that was written by people who know how to assemble shit, but who will never win the Nobel Prize for clarity.

Being a complete jackass when it comes to these things, I wanted to pour over every step of the directions and carefully consider each and every move before it was made. By contrast, Mrs. Parkway has an innate sense about how things go together, (She used to put the Barbie Motor Homes and such together) would take a quick glance at the instructions and begin assembling shit.

This lead to more than a few heated words in a house where heated words are a rare as hen’s teeth. In fact, at one point in the proceedings, I figured that either this piece of shit (the desk, not Mrs. Parkway) was going in the garbage, or I would end up living in a motel and sending alimony payments home.

Two or three days, several scraped knuckles, forty or so man-hours, and unfathomable amounts of aggravation later, the job was finished.

Once I got the computer set up on the desk, my first act was to type out a letter to the O’Sullivan company in which I opined that the company must be staffed with sadistic bastards and suggested precisely what they could do with their “easy to assemble” furniture.

So, as far as I’m concerned, anything that “requires assembly” can stay in the farookin’ store.

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