The Man Who Wouldn’t Read The Directions
An elderly couple showed up today dragging a rather long canvas bag onto the beach. She is dressed in a Hawaiian themed outfit and he has a garish shirt emblazoned with playing cards. He immediately starts to pull rods, connectors, and a huge piece of nylon fabric out of this bag. He then proceeds to erect a fucking building right in front of my eyes. This should be good. Now mind you the wind is gusting to hurricane proportions and our umbrella already took off and is a half a mile down the beach. He starts to put the rods together to form a tent like structure. The wind is howling and he is trying to hold onto his hat and simultaneously put this tent together.
Obviously he did not read the directions for this gizmo because I would bet it states that it is not for use in any condition that there might be even the hint of wind. After struggling to keep his hat on and put this monstrosity together, the frame is done. The tent structure looks like a giant spider on long spindly legs. I’m waiting for this thing to start to skip across the beach. And sure enough it does thanks to the gale force winds. It starts to slowly creep across the sand inch by inch in the direction of massive crowds of women and children.
I’m certain that if he had bothered to read the directions it would have either explained to him in writing OR with pictures drawn so even a three year old would get the gist that the roof goes on before the tent structure is fully erect. So now he is trying get to what amounts to pulling a condom onto a full erection. His shirt with the cards shows me he’s a betting man, I’m betting that this is never going to happen.
The entire beach is now riveted watching this drama unfold. With the wife desperately holding onto the tent, he proceeds to fit the tent condom on and install the nylon covering. As soon as one part is on, the other part catches some wind and flies away. He grabs that part and the first part flies away.
As the husband struggles with the tent the wife has an, “I would rather be anywhere but here” look on her face and is holding the pole in an American Gothic pose. I hope they have good insurance because if this tent gets loose, there will be casualties.
Finally after an exhaustive effort, the cover is on and the tent is up. And up and up and up, because it’s now catching all of the wind. The cover of the tent is acting like the sail on a boat. Welcome aboard the “SS I Don’t Read Directions Because I’m Smarter Than Everyone Else.” Now both wife and husband are holding onto the tent poles in a desperate attempt to keep this thing from going airborne. Not a very relaxing day at the beach I can assure you. So how are we going to be able to actually sit under this thing without it blowing into the next time zone? The man who wouldn’t read the directions pulls out some tent pegs. Yes! Slender metal tent pegs that look like knitting needles should do the trick. He inserts them into the sand and they immediately pull out. This goes on for a few minutes until it dawns on him that the pegs were designed for packed soil not loose sand.
This has turned into an epic struggle of man vs. tent. The tent is bouncing all over the place. I begin to look for escape routes just in case. I don’t want to be that guy that you read about; sadly he was struck down in the prime of his life by a runaway tent. Suddenly all work stops on the tent and then, the wife whips out her camera and starts to film the man who wouldn’t read the directions as he drinks a beer. Wait. What? The killer tent is getting ready for lift off and he’s taking a beer break! Now he’s filming her holding the tent. Ah such fond memories of our vacation. “Look hon, here’s the one where you are holding onto your hat and the tent is five feet in the air!”
The man who wouldn’t read the directions puts his beer down, goes back into the canvas bag and pulls out a length of tangled up string. Ah, he is going to somehow tie it down. To what though? The pegs? No. The wife? Perhaps. Now he is trying to untangle this mess of string. The wind is now F5 hurricane strength and it doesn’t look like anything is going to keep this thing on the ground. We will have liftoff. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The back leg of the tent creature is 2 feet off the ground. Women and children are leaving.
But wait!!! Much to our chagrin he has decided to dismantle this killing machine as the lifeguard is issuing a wind advisory. Oh well, discretion is the better part of valor. It would have been an awesome performance worthy of a standing ovation. Maybe next time.
I was laughing non-stop through this performance. I think they heard me because the next day as I was walking on the sidewalk to the beach he was driving and came within a foot of running me over. I think he needs to read the car’s owners manual as well.
By Barry and Sallyanne Scott