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Technical Writers Don’t Make the World a Better Place

January 21, 2011

Guess their crimes. They are pretty bad.

“But how difficult could it possibly be to put together an entertainment stand?” I asked my fiancee as we looked at the assembled display model in front of us. “I mean they freaking sell it at Walmart so I’m pretty sure a handi-capable Rhesus monkey could figure it out, right?”

(To this very day I still swear that a Walmart employee overheard my questions and then cackled maniacally in response while a bolt of lightning flashed in the background. He had a purplish scar that ran diagonally across his face and he was missing 3 fingers on his left hand. His name was Shane. He used to assembly the display furniture at Walmart until his “unfortunate accident.” Now I hear rumors that Shane works in Sporting Goods and sometimes fills in as a “greeter.”)

Who cared that the display model’s middle shelf was installed backwards so that the cheap composite press-board edge was showing instead of the (only slightly more desirable) imitation wood laminate? Or that left door was attached to its hinge by one lonely misaligned screw?

Certainly the shoddy, haphazard construction of the entertainment stand was the direct result of lackadaisical employees and careless assembly, rather than the hardworking technical writers that drafted the “easy-to-follow instructions” that were so thoughtfully provided in English, Spanish, Korean, Yiddish, Pig Latin and Klingon. Wasn’t it???

The answer to the question above is a resounding “NO.” It really was the fault of those evil, debauched technical writers that delight in human suffering and feed on domestic strife caused by arguments over their cryptic, inscrutable directions. I know this because my fiancee and I bought that entertainment stand and spent well over 3 hours that night assembling it…

“By Thor’s Hammer!” I cried out to the heavens. “Why would they ever use a capital letter ‘I’ and a lower case ‘L’ to distinguish two completely different parts? They look EXACTLY the freaking same in this font! How can they possibly think that was a good idea? Do they WANT people to get confused?”

Of this, I’m certain. There will be a special section reserved in Hell for people that write instructions and create diagrams for “easy-to-assemble” furniture. It will be right next to the section of Hell that will forever house the “fast food” workers that repeatedly and consistently screw up my order.

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