Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Insert flap 'A' and throw away"

I have recently been assembling baby paraphernalia for grandson Hunter.
"Baby Bouncer", "Play Seat", Stroller... well, you get the idea.

I am not sure how many configurations were theoretically possible to attach seat of "Baby Bouncer" to the frame, but it took me three tries to get it right.

This has reminded me of an S.J. Perelman essay I read in high school: "Insert flap 'A' and throw away".
Below is the opening paragraph. (It gets better!... I just don't want to include the full essay - I've provided a link!):
One stifling summer afternoon last August, in the attic of a tiny stone house in Pennsylvania, I made a most interesting discovery: the shortest, cheapest method of inducing a nervous breakdown ever perfected. In this technique (eventually adopted by the psychology depart- ment of Duke University, which will adopt anything) , the subject is placed in a sharply sloping attic heated to 340 °F. and given a mothproof closet known as the Jiffy-Cloz to assemble. The Jiffy-Cloz, procurable at any department store or neighborhood insane asylum, consists of half a dozen gigantic sheets of red cardboard, two plywood doors, a clothes rack, and a packet of staples. With these is in- cluded a set of instructions mimeographed in pale-violet ink, fruity with phrases like "Pass Section F through Slot AA, taking care not to fold tabs behind washers (see Fig. 9)." The cardboard is so processed that as the subject struggles convulsively to force the staple through, it sud- denly buckles, plunging the staple deep into his thumb. He thereupon springs up with a dolorous cry and smites his knob (Section K) on the rafters (RR). As a final de- monic touch, the Jiffy-Cloz people cunningly omit four of the staples necessary to finish the job, so that after in- describable purgatory, the best the subject can possibly achieve is a sleazy, capricious structure which would re- duce any self-respecting moth to helpless laughter. The cumulative frustration, the tropical heat, and the soft, ghostly chuckling of the moths are calculated to unseat the strongest mentality.
This was found at:
The Best of S.J. Perelman
... I think I managed to get the link directly to the first page of the essay.
(... if not, it starts on page 285. It's worth it!)

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