There may be no finer trio of words to appear on a Christmas present for one of your kids than No Assembly Required.
No Assembly Required!?! You mean I don’t have to sit down on the floor with a screwdriver, hammer, glue gun, drill and seething, bubbling-over inner rage to put together a push toy!?! I don’t have to ponder the corporate decision-making tree that led to the instruction manual written by tool-illiterate suit monkeys in one office while the suit-adverse engineers pieced together the product in another office? And forget about Packaging. They always just throw a mishmash of parts in the box regardless of the quantity – or type - required for assembly. I once got a small vial of plutonium that was, apparently, supposed to help build my daughter’s Barbie house.
I’m lucky. My kids have grown and don’t want “toys” now. They desire “electronics”. And, of course, we know that electronics come in smaller packages but the price is inverse to size. I used to be able to populate an entire Christmas tree skirt for $200 worth of Fisher Price’s finest. Now, $200 doesn’t even get me a gift the size of my wallet holding my maxed out credit card. But this is, quite literally, the price you pay for the kids growing up.
So you must seek comfort where it can be found during the stressful holiday season. In a bottle, of course. But also in those three magical words: No Assembly Required. (There was a time when I thought the three most important words you could hear were “I love you”. Nope.) You don’t need to stumble downstairs with your bathrobe and suicidal thoughts Christmas morning and head directly to the garage to prepare for the day’s
Christmas morning came and went pretty quietly this past year: coffee, unwrapping, kids quietly fiddling with electronics, video games, wine, serenity. Peace on Earth and all that crap I hear about but assumed was a myth. Nice, you know?
I even quietly said a prayer for those parents still in the thick of the Toddler Years. SOME Assembly Required. “Some”? Ha! Suckers! “Some” means “Total” in toy company-ese. “Some” means you are spending an entire morning putting together a plastic turtle that blinks lights when someone farts and sings a quickly irritating little diddy when his shell is pressed. Only 28 screws, 14 triple checks to the instructions, and a half dozen calls to customer support will allow you to experience the magic of Loud Ass the Turtle That Never Shuts Up. That’s if you remember to buy batteries, of course. If not, you get Cry Baby the Kid That Never Stops Until You Find a 7-Eleven to Buy Batteries.
And don’t get me started on the Barbie dolls wrapped in their box by so much STITCHED plastic that you have to pry them out with wire cutters. And if you can do that without pulling the hair out of Dream Date Barbie’s head, bully for you! I just pulled, yanked, and twisted until Barbie came free. I always thought Barbie looked better resembling Pink anyhow. My daughter received nine Pink, the Barbies, for Christmas (as far as she knows) over the years.
“But why's most of her hair still in the box, Daddy?”
“That’s Pink’s wig and you want her to be comfortable being who she is, naturally, right Sweetie?”
But that’s all in the past for me now. I won’t again have to face that lonely visage in the bathroom mirror of the nearly-broken, tear-stained Dad, with unkempt hair and tattered bathrobe, sucking on the end of the glue gun and wondering just how much damage hot glue can do. We talking a glued shut mouth or complete system shut down? It matters. Hard to pour wine through a glued mouth.
I’m in the No Assembly Required years and it’s quite lovely here: tools are left in the garage, the TV seems a bit sharper than 1080p, the recliner feels like a feather enema.
At least it was until my daughter tossed her new laptop onto my groin, spilled my wine, and announced that it “REQUIRES SETUP”.