One of the most cherished traditions of Christmas morning is the requirement of assembly, or as it is written in small print on the package, "Assembly Required". We all remember our dads cursing their way through Christmas Day while Mom finished preparing the big dinner. There in the living room, spread out on the floor, would be the bits and pieces of our presents while Dad studied the instructions on a large foldout sheet of paper. Inevitably there would be a few screws and bolts left over, but who needs those when getting out on that new bicycle was paramount. It mostly worked just fine without them. At least when my dad was assembling our presents on Christmas Day, the instructions were written in English by English speakers.
Mark gave me his Christmas list a couple of months ago. Right at the top of the list was a meat smoker. Mark wanted an electronic smoker so that he could cook up pork, ribs, and other delicacies without having to go through the process of starting a fire out in the barbecue grill. I couldn't argue with that, since I would be the beneficiary of said delicacies. In fact, Mark promised me a prime rib dinner for Christmas, cooked in his new smoker. So he got his wish. On Christmas Morning, under the tree... well, next to the tree, sat Mark's brand new meat smoker with a big red ribbon on it. Now I knew that there was some assembly required, but I figured that I could do that early Christmas Day with enough time for Mark to cook my prime rib roast. Mark informed me that it would take around six hours to fully cook the roast. So I allowed that if I started assembling the smoker around noon, I would have it together by twelve thirty, and dinner would be ready before seven in the evening. I was wrong. It took more like an hour to put together, and when I got to the very last line of instructions there was this, "The smoker must be pre-seasoned prior to first use. Set temperature to 275 degrees, and run unit for three hours." That bit of instruction is something I would put in large, uppercase letters, at the beginning of the manual. In fact I would put that on the cover. So do the math. We ate a little later than expected.