A collection of essays, outdoor adventure stories, ruminations, wordplay, parental angst, and blatant omphaloskepsis, generated in all seasons and for many reasons at 64.8 degrees north latitude

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Assembly Instructions (2022)


Warning!  Avertissement!
Follow all instructions carefully.  Year must be securely attached to the moorings provided (see December 2021 and January 2023).   Failure to secure 2022 will nullify the enclosed warranty.

Before you begin:

Prepare adequate workspace for assembly of 2022.  Some components may expand to fill more than the expected area.

Check contents:

  •  Primary components: Nancy, Jay, Lizzy, Molly (Note: Contents should include two high school sophomores.  These components are self-actualized under most conditions).
  •  Secondary components: Shiloh, Eddy, and Sinbad. (Note: tagging and labeling secondary components is recommended.  Do not use paint or Sharpie.)

Supplementary and auxiliary components (not included) will be needed for some steps.

Gather all necessary tools.  You will need:

·       Optimism (Phillips, flat-head, torx, and hex optimism will all be needed).

·       Patience (use coarse, medium, and fine-grit patience in order to ensure a smooth finish).

·       Sense of humor (gallon-size or larger).

·       Fortitude (heavy-duty C-clamps can be used in addition to fortitude, as needed).

·       Love (Note: epoxy should not be used as a replacement).

·       Reading glasses. 

Step 1: January.

Figure 1

a.       Open 2022 carefully, being careful not to mislay any small parts such as early-morning meetings, permission slips, dental appointments, or emails from the director of your workplace.  Contents may be cold and dark; this is normal. 

b.       Be sure to avoid residual COVID.  

c.       When in doubt, check your climate change models.  (Figure 1. Note: csv files are now available.)

d.       Set aside travel plans; you will need these in later steps.

Step 2: February.

a.       Actually, you need those travel plans right now.  Assemble them quickly. 

b.       Insert your hand into another hand.  It will be frail. 

c.       Hold gently. 

d.       Keep holding. 

e.       Hold until it’s time to let go.

f.        Parts will be irretrievably broken during this step. 

g.       Oddly enough, although you will never be able to persuade your heart that this is normal, this is normal. 

h.       Insert family, friendship, warmth, and memories. 

i.         Repeat step 2h as necessary.

Step 3: March.

a.       Sort priorities. 
Figure 2

b.       Fold life back into schedule. 

c.       Assemble all human and canine components, four snow bikes, sleeping bags, clothing, assorted gear, and an enormous amount of food (Figure 2).

d.       Circle White Mountains clockwise.  Do not pedal continuously.  Be sure to enjoy.

Step 4: April

a.       Refer back to climate change models.

b.       Prepare supplementary bark beetle sub-model (Note: results may be concerning).

Step 5: May

a.       Turn 50.  (Note: this type of turning should not be accomplished with screwdriver).

b.       For components turning 16 rather than 50: commence daily counts of hatchling swallows, apply AP exams, and finish school year. (Note: natural finish is preferred to polyurethane).

c.       Check to see if all the snow has melted. 

d.       If results of step 5c are positive, go camping. 

e.       If results are negative, go camping anyhow.

Step 6: June

a.       As applicable, continue counting beetles and/or swallows. 
Figure 3

b.       Add squirrel. (Figure 3)

c.       Find rock climber among components; set her aside in Hatcher’s Pass for a week.

d.       Liberal application of Shakespeare will be necessary in June and July.  Sharpen acting skills.

Step 7: July

a.       Firmly affix acting skills to wall (see Figure 4).
Figure 4

b.       Firmly affix walls. (Note – 7a and 7b are two distinct tasks; only the latter should involve nails, hammers, and screw guns, although both involve a certain amount of paint and suspension of disbelief.  See Figure 5).
Figure 5

c.       If cast as part of a teenage string trio of fairy muses (Figure 6), sharpen viola-playing skills. (Note: This type of casting does not involve cement). During this step, it’s also very important not to slam your finger in a doo…   Oh.  Keep playing.)

Step 8: August

Figure 6

a.       Insert two adults, three teenagers, two dogs, and associated gear in truck. (Note: this step incorporates auxiliary component V.  This may be a tight fit, but greasing components is not recommended).

b.       Head for the hills. (Note: In this case, “hills” are primarily the Wrangell Mountains, Figure 7)
Figure 7

c.       Update M & L components to 11th grade mode.  Dust lightly with Calculus. (Note: instructions also available in German and Russian).

d.       Sand, polish, and lightly varnish teaching skills; apply to a batch of UAF students.
Figure 8

e.       Adjust squirrel as needed (Figure 8)

Step 9: September

Figure 9
a.       Measure 26.2 miles of trail.  Apply components N, L, and M (plus supplementary component V from Step 8.
b.       Continue to calibrate large auxiliary components (Figure 9)
c.       Gently release squirrel.  Loosening nuts may help. (Figure 10)

Figure 10
Step 10: October

a.       Complete academic quarter.  Apply grades.  Components will have a lustrous finish.

b.       Temporarily transfer all primary components and several auxiliary components to Tolovana; immerse in hot water until softened.

Step 11: November

a.       Recalibrate expectations by actually receiving federal grant money. (Note: consult paperwork to determine what you said you’d do).

b.       Suspend component L from wall (Note: this is normal, but distinct from both step 7a and step 7b. – Figure 11
Figure 11

Step 12: December

a.       Add finishing touches to your 2022. 

b.       Prepare points for secure attachment to 2023. (Note: failure to attach 2023 voids mail-in rebate).

c.       Repeat step 2h as necessary.

d.       Spread a thick layer of durable good cheer (high-gloss or matte, as preferred).

Congratulations!  Your 2022 is now complete.  A wonderful holiday season and a happy new year to all.


Don't forget to hold hands.



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