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Excerpts from Time/Life Books “Amateur Handyman” Series

July 17, 2009

As you may have noticed, the Time/Life Book team has been hard at work cranking out title after title on nearly any subject (a partial list here). Today we bring you an excerpt from the Amateur Handyman Series Vol. 4 – Holy Fuck! Water’s Not Working! The Amateur’s Guide to Household Wiring.

Don't be intimidated by electrical wiring. It's as simple as it looks.

Don't be intimidated by electrical wiring. It's as simple as it looks.

Welcome to the Time/Life “Amateur Handyman” series. We would like to thank you for your purchase and point out a few new features in these latest editions:

1. Due to recent cutbacks in our editing department, the Amateur Handyman series is now overseen by Joseph Zimmer (Editor – Fish and Wildlife) and Marcie Whitman (Editor – Potpourri and Knickknacks; currently under investigation for what authorities believe to be “botched arson” stemming from an electrical fire. She is pleading “innocent.”)

2. By opening this book, you agree to our Terms of Service (Appendix A), which includes releasing Time/Life Books, our “experts” and lowest-bidder authors from any responsibility for damages incurred due to badly written or poorly informed instructions.

3. You also (by opening this book) release Time/Life Books from responsibility for any mental anguish or duress caused by our constant referral to our “experts” in quotes (both in the foreword and throughout the book itself).

4. If this book was ordered online, refunds can be obtained by shipping the unused portion to Time/Life Books, guaranteed overnight, insured and with signature verification (at your expense). Your gift certificate (good for its equivalent value in Time/Life Books Amateur Handyman series books) should arrive in the area of six weeks to never.

5. If this book was a late-night impulse purchase, utilizing our 800 number, your credit card will be charged a restocking fee and the cost of prepaid shipping box, which will be sent to you (inside of a much larger box) C.O.D. You may also be subject to relabeling, resealing and other box-related fees. These charges will appear on your credit card statement as “Teen Shemales Gone Wild!”

6. If you borrowed this from a friend or the library, or perhaps are just flipping through it at the bookstore, punch yourself in the face repeatedly. You can stop as soon as you purchase your own copy at the full retail price. Cheapass.

Chapter 1 – Installing a Ceiling Fan in the Basement

Tools you will need (Note – some of these tools may be hard to find or not actually exist.):
Wire (purchase double what you may actually need; you’ll be fucking up a lot)
Screwdriver
Flashlight
Hammer
Pliers
Wire Cutter
Wire Stripper
Wire Restripper
Wire Uncutter
Ohm Meter (tests resistance – you’ll receive a mild-to-fatal shock if proper resistance is not present. If you are somewhere near the correct range, the Ohm Meter will give you a number that you can “Google” for correctness)
First Aid Kit
Defibrillator
Emergency Contacts
Next-of-kin Notification Form (Appendix B)

Step 1. Make sure you have all your tools gathered in your work area. Are you really interested in making several trips up and down the stairs? Or are you just going to resort to banging nails in with the pliers or the end of the flashlight?

Step 2. Locate the junction box. Start yanking down ceiling panels until you come across it. Unless it’s in the wall. It should look like a metal box and be full of wiring. Be gentle, though. Those ceiling panels will need to be returned to their proper spot. Consider marking them with letters or “This End Up” with an arrow pointing to the ceiling.

If you see more wiring than is listed in these instructions, please ignore and proceed to optometrist for color-blindness testing.

If you see more wiring than is listed in these instructions, please ignore and proceed to optometrist for color-blindness testing.

Step 3. Prep for wiring addition. Open the junction box. You should have at least four different wires, all colorfully capped. You should see red, white, blue and green. (For our colorblind readers, veer a rojo, blanco, azul y verde.)

Step 4. Uncap the blue and green wires. You will need to intertwine your new wiring with the existing lines. Grasp the green wire… wait! You did shut off the power via the fuse box, right?

Step 5. As soon as you can move again, shut off the power via the fuse box. You may also want to clean up any urine you may have left at the spot of the “incident.” Water is a helluva conductor. Now with the power shut off, you may notice that it is way too dark to work in the basement, especially at this time of night. Besides, the hardware store closes in, like, half an hour. Take five. We will continue this tomorrow morning.

Step 6. Welcome back! Let’s retrace our steps and get the power turned off. At this point in the day you should have plenty of natural light to work with. Perhaps some sunlight, too. (Ha! Just some “drunken, incompetent electrician” humor! Go ahead and use that sometime.)

Step 7. Now with your two new lines attached to the blue and green wires, you should be able to fire up the fuse box and check the resistance with your Ohm Meter. (Forget all that crap about “red wire” or “blue wire” like you see in the movies. They all lead somewhere expensive and are full of deadly juice.)

If you detect a burning smell, don’t worry. That’s just electricity’s way of telling you it’s still working, despite your lack of skill. Same thing with the flames. They will go out eventually.

Oh, fucking awesome... Thanks for nothing, "lifesaving device!"

Oh, fucking awesome... Thanks for nothing, "lifesaving device!"

Step 8. OK. At this point, you will want to remain calm. Where is the closest exit? OK. Where is the closest exit that is not behind a wall of flames? With effort, we can probably fit through that window. Let’s try that.

Step 9.You may want to contact your insurance agency as soon as possible. Be vague about the details, emphasizing words like “pre-existing” and “power grid fluctuations.” This would also apply to your conversation with the fire department. (For more information, see Appendix C – Goofus and Gallant Present: Dealing With A Suspicious Insurance Company.)

Coming up in Chapter 2 – Rebuilding Your Life, Using Qualified and Expensive Contractors.

-CLT

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7 comments

  1. You’re funny. I like this stuff.


    • *****
      1 out of 1 readers found this review helpful.

      😉 Thanks, RR.


  2. I’m going to put this in the front page of every book I write from now on:

    If you borrowed this from a friend or the library, or perhaps are just flipping through it at the bookstore, punch yourself in the face repeatedly. You can stop as soon as you purchase your own copy at the full retail price. Cheapass.


    • As often happens with your posts, I find myself reading them over and over because I always miss little things the first time through. I could write a response longer than your posts solely about how incredible you are.

      That’s your compliment for the week since I’ve been lagging on coming to see you and leaving a commnt 🙂


    • As a published writer (FJ will be by shortly with the “hah!”), you should feel free to antagonize your readers immediately.

      However, I feel that most people probably consider the foreward an afterthought, and read it once they’ve finished the book. This won’t stop the head-punching. Just delay it.

      Thanks for the very kind words, CC. Great to see you again.


  3. We actually refence these exact books from time to time.


    • Smyrna –

      I’m glad to hear your using these reference books to fullest extent legally allowed in Atlanta. Your liability insurance must be completely paid up.

      Thanks for visiting, Smyrna.



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