Thursday, 17 December 2009

Free Excerpt/Take Time to Laugh

Here's a day-brightener for friends, fellow readers and writers. It's an excerpt from my LIGHTEN UP which is now on Kindle for $0.99.

Tis the season of more feelings than Peace on Earth and jolly whoopee. If the madding crowd doesn't stampede and stomp you to death in the mall, and you don't have a stroke from frustration trying to find someone to wait on you, the other shoppers will take deadly aim at you as you cringe in your car at the mercy of traffic lights (both working and non-working) in the snarl of traffic where you've got hemmed in and can't move in any direction.

All the scary scenes aren't in the movies set on a dark and stormy night. Some of them are right out in bright sunlight in the middle of a mob of lunitics, all bad-mouthing each other for the delay in their ritual celebration of peace on earth, good will toward men (which doesn't include their vehicles.)

The worst is yet to come. Some of the things you'e had delivered or managed to get into the trunk of your car are in boxes stenciled with the three words that can make any family man's blood run cold - Some Assembly Required. This is the absolute epitome of understatement. What's in that innocent looking cardboard carton is a lot of bits and pieces along with a little plastic sack labeled hardware. There's also a leaflet with 'simple' instructions for the simpleton who bought the thing. Included, is a picture of the product the way it's supposed to look - if all the pieces are there; you have an engineering degree; and there are no interruptions; and you are blessed with the patience of Job.

You lay out all the neatly numbered pieces, never mind the hardware yet. This is the point where you notice the instructions are in English, Spanish, and French, implying any simpleton in any location in the world should be able to do this job, so you should be able to also. This is the first stab of self coubt packed into this Pandora's Box of troubles.

All the big and little odd shaped pieces have numbers or letters on them. Some of them have both, the hardware too. It helps to keep the picture of the finished product where you can see it. It may begin to look like you're getting there by the time you get most of it assembled. In some cases reasembled, because piece E should have been insered in chunk 10A before putting 10A into slot 2B.

By now you are sure you will be through by Christmas. But Christmas what year? The next stage is when the monster, if you use just a little imagination, resembles the pictue of the finished product. So you decide you can do witout shelves three and four. And what difference does it make if you don't put on that door that you had on upside down and had to remove on that extra shelf? Who need it, anyway? The thing is now functional and somewhat resembles the picture, give or take a couple of shelves. So you call it done.

The struggle it took to get that far makes you wonder how the French and Spanish buyers made out with their projects. As you close the instructions, on the back side of the brochure there's more print in some other foreign language. The picture looks like a screwdriver being inserted into an electical outlet. I bet that cuts down on the number of complaints!

Break's over - Merry Christmas! :-)

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