Monday, November 11, 2013

Killing us softly

The Chinese are kicking our ass.

They must be smart, because they spend one fifth of what we spend on military hardware and the armed services.

Their plan is not to bomb us. Or destroy our infrastructure. Or anything that would have a negative impact on the substantial investments they have made here on our mainland.

No, they are way too wily for that.

The Chinese plan, and it's quite nefarious, is to leverage our ungodly consumerism until we choke ourselves to death on their shabby goods.

We'll dig our own graves. And we'll do it with the HoleMaster KR 9000™.

The beauty of it all is we're willing participants in our demise.

Two weeks ago I purchased a new recumbent exercise bike to replace the Chinese-made NordicTrack that literally disintegrated in my garage. I did my research and decided the Diamondback 510SR would be a good choice. Had I dug a little further I would have discovered the Diamondback is also built in China.

Here's the ultimate irony.

A piece of machinery intended to add years to my life has managed to accomplish quite the opposite. Take one look at the assembly page instructions above and you will know why.

I am an unusually handy Jew.

It took me 16 hours, but I once installed a new garbage disposal under the kitchen sink. I have outfitted entire apartments in Ikea furniture. And I can change the oil and the tires on my car, though I often choose not to because I don't want the old lady across the street to ask me to do it for her.

The point is, I'm not one of those "soft" Ashkenazis. I trace my roots to Bulgaria and self-identify with the Sephardim, the one who can do for themselves.

But when it came to putting this damn recumbent bike together, I found myself in tears. Actually, I wasn't crying, my wife was. Something to the effect of, "Oh no, not again."

I don't know if you can make sense of the instructions, but somewhere between Step 23 and Step 24, I gave up. Mind you, I survived Advanced Calculus in college and know how to track shapes and figures moving in three dimensional space.

But I couldn't make heads or tails of these instructions, so I went with my gut. I connected wires that seemed to need connecting. Bolted pieces together that seemed to need bolting. And managed to put the whole damn thing together.

It doesn't look exactly like the picture on the box, but the important thing is it works.

Of course, now I have a lot of leftover pieces. Mostly washers, nuts and bolts.

I'm not laying down in this fight that crosses the Pacific. I take the extra hardware and mix it in with some coins and leave them on the table as a tip any time I go to a Chinese restaurant.


Ellen November said...

Brilliant! Could there be an award show for mechanically adept Jews? A Survivor type show where you start small with Lego kits and move on to Diamondbacks or rebuilding an engine?

Berk said...

Gratuitous nuts & bolts as gratuity. Genius!