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#some assembly required

Originally posted by avengerscompound

“This ones also bad!” I hiccuped, trying not to slur my words.

“What? Not even brandy?” Steve pulled the glass away from me. “My mom let me drink brandy when I was a baby!”

“Wait, what?” My eyes widened.

“Okay, she didn’t let me drink exactly. Just coated some of my toys in it to help me calm down. I thought it would work for you.” He made sure to pick the exact opposite side that I drank from when he took a sip, and I rolled my eyes.

“Are you calling me a baby?” I crossed my arms.

“No! I’m just thinking about what I could…handle as a baby. Now that I think about it, I get where you’re coming from.” He tapped his fingers against the table.

“It’s okay. When it comes to drinking I’m basically a baby.” I took the glass from him, trying the drink again. “Sorry, I just don’t like it.”

“Not a problem, you’re not required to like anything.” He lightly pat my shoulder. “Why don’t you go try whatever Thor’s drinking? I think he’s the only one you haven’t gone to yet.”

“W-well…” I turned around.

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My relationship with the main 6 avengers!

Thor: 💖💖💖💖💖💕💕💕💕💕💝💝💝💝🥰🥰🥰🥺🥺🥺 (hubby. I wuv him.)

Steve: We get into a lot of disagreements, but generally we’re still friends. He’s never gonna get over that time I bit him (it was ONE time).

Tony: Constantly teases me, but has my best interest in mind. I’m always making him feel like a Fake Movie Fan because I know way too many details about the movies he references.

Natasha: Very close friends (close to friends with benefits), she’s super protective of me. I’m very affectionate with her and that can annoy her sometimes.

Clint: We don’t talk a ton, but he’s basically a big brother figure for me.

Bruce: Another very close friend. We bonded over being the two who were Nervous at first when getting to know everything.

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Shiro a mf fakeass in some assembly required after the pyramid he was like, let’s take a break, but later when allura is like why are you taking a break you’re supposed to be training, shiro comes in all yeah guys why y’all talking a break we should be training fuckin kiss ass mf

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Daughter texted, I have bought some side tables Dad and I need to borrow your rubber mallet and a screwdriver to put them together. I’ll be over in 5. The tables were assembled without fuss but with the use of some slightly more fancy tools than a screwdriver.

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also, Cordelia has been trying SO hard to fit in and hang out with the Scoobies, which is something I didn’t really remember happening this early! she’s actually trying to form those connections she realized she didn’t have, and there’s clear, obvious progression towards trying to make real friends. I love it!

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I thought I’d like to share with you this little story that my family used to read aloud every Christmas. It’s got all the mid-century holiday anxieties: fear of overconsumerism, distrust/dislike of the younger generation, distrust of technology, war toys, “I am a human being: do not fold, spindle, or mutilate,” fear of loss of individuality, and a general fondness for complaining. I’ve tried to preserve all the old-timey formatting choices.

But we always got a lot of laughs out of it, and certain lines have become stock phrases in our family jargon. Plus, it flashes me back to two of my former jobs, assembling furniture and technical writing. Consider it our gift to you this holiday season, and you don’t even have to assemble it yourself.


by Robert Yoder

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he has a home near the North Pole, where it is colder than a bathroom floor. But don’t believe that story about his having a lot of little dwarfs who put toys together for him, singing as they hammer. Nobody puts toys together, until Christmas Eve. Toys come in sixteen pieces, with one missing, and are put together by a large band of Involuntary Elves who call ourselves Santa’s Press-Gang Helpers. We don’t exactly sing, either, although a certain low, ominous murmur can be heard rising from a million homes on Christmas Eve. Put it this way, kid: that ain’t no dwarf; that’s your old man, beaten down. The luckless peon bought the toys; now he is learning that he has to finish manufacturing them, too, and by one A.M. his mood will make Scrooge seem like Sunny Ebenezer.

The first thing your frightened eye lights on, in the store, is a nice little red wagon, and you think, in your fatuous adult way, that this is just the thing to brighten the young heart. If you weren’t partially paralyzed by the fear that you were shopping too late, you would realize that if the kid wants a wagon at all, it isn’t this chaste little model. He would want one twice the size, with demountable tires, a ram-jet engine, electric lights, an overdrive and a windshield wiper, at $79.75. The kid next door has had one like that for two years and uses it only to haul his good toys in. Then you see the rocket-firing antiaircraft gun and realize that this is the answer. While it will not do bodily harm, and is therefore a partial bust to start with, it is a realistic-looking little number, and you buy it, at an exceedingly realistic price.

About the hour on Christmas Eve when you are in mild shock for fear the thing won’t arrive, the delivery man stumbles in with a large package that can’t be anything else. Will you put it under the tree that way? Or will you have it out in the open, so the child may see this splendid sight first thing in the morning? Full of Christmas sentiment, you decide to expose the gun to full, gladsome view. So you tear off the wrapping. Here is a dial, here is a leg, here is a muzzle. You thought it would look like the model in the store, did you? Well, Santa has a little surprise for you. It’s in pieces, and you are going to have to put it together. Merry Christmas, in at least ten pieces.

There is a sheet or folder of directions which could not get under your skin worse if they were in Spanish. They are written in the special language of directions, a mechanical gobbledegook achieved by writing the directions first in Ruthenian and then allowing the translation to curdle. A stop sign from the same mumbling pen would take 200 words. In the language of directions, “Close the door” would read like this: “Grasp door-opening device with right knob grasper and exert pressure outward until Panel A fills Aperture B. If scream is heard, other hand may be caught in opening.” Along with being as turgid as possible, the directions are printed in a miniature type face known as Myopia Old Style, which is two sizes smaller than pearl and is otherwise used only to print the Declaration of Independence on souvenir pennies. Well, lying there in pieces, the gun looks like nothing at all; it’s got to be assembled. The first line you encounter in the directions says: “Using ring grasper from Assembly Kit, grasp collector ring near tube spar tightening guide rod”… but, thank heaven, that goes with some other toy. Your own directions start out more simply: “Connect round opening at end of Feeder Spring A with hooked end of trigger lock restraining bar by placing round opening over hook and pressing.” What’d he think you’d do - spot-weld it? (The answer, unfortunately, is that he expects more than that, but not just yet.) Now the guy begins getting esoteric.

“If retaining mechanism fails to admit trigger, horizontal opening of drum impeding stopper should be widened horizontally.” He means if the damned trigger won’t go into the guard, you got to cut more room, and sure enough, it won’t. This is going to be the only gun in the neighborhood with a demountable (falling out) trigger, unless you fix it. If retaining mechanism fails to admit what it’s supposed to retain, then it should never have left the factory, but it’s too late for that kind of recrimination now. Getting a hammer from the basement, a good paring knife and a screwdriver, you manage to make the trigger go where it should, with one very bad moment when you think you’ve split the thing.

Well, the barrel, H, slides into place nicely; maybe things are beginning to go your way. The next step is to fit Firing Platform Z on Tripod, the Tripod being made by inserting Metal-tipped Ends of Legs into Sockets, which is child’s play. Now all it takes is two bolts, L and M, which you slip into place with great efficiency. They must be firmly in place, the directions say, or gun will not swivel on Platform Z; you might say, it won’t swivel on any platform. A neat little bag contained the bolts, and in it you find the nut for bolt L But half an hour later you are still rummaging through wrapping paper in a grim search for the other nut, the crucial nut, the nut without which, as the Latins say, nothing. You may have 128 nuts of assorted sizes in a jar in the basement, but you will not have one that fits Bolt M. That is a freak size used nowhere else in the whole panoply of American industry. It is part of a shipment the toy manufacturer bought up from the Uruguayan War Assets Administration.

it is 11:45 by the time you manage to make the bolt hold with a piece of wire wrapped around it, and if the kid looks at that part, he will feel sure this toy is something the firemen repainted for the poor. Meanwhile the house is grown cold, three of the Christmas-tree lights have winked at you by burning out, and your cigarette has fallen out of the ash tray and burned a six-dollar hole in the carpet. But the gun is starting to look like a weapon, and there can’t be much more - only a couple of odd-looking metal pieces are left and a cardboard circle marked “Cosmic Ray Computer Dial.”

One of the pieces of metal is easy enough to use. It’s the missing plug, for lack of which the barrel has had that tendency to point to the floor like the tail of a whipped hound. The other is the crank with which the young gunner moves the barrel to keep on his target. You tackle the easiest job first - the computer is nothing more than two sections of light cardboard. “Bending tabs A, C, E and G,” the directions say, “fit them into Slots B, D, F and H.” The cardboard is a special kind which is a stiff as metal for a minute and then relaxes completely as you push, so that in twenty minutes you have four dog-eared tabs holding one crumpled dial marked with a little blood from the finger you cut trying to enlarge the slots.

Now you reach the part of the directions that tell you to fix on the telescopic sight. The diagram shows a handsome metal gadget coming to a square end, fitted into a ring fastened neatly around the end of the barrel. The only piece of metal you have left, outside of the crank, is a cotter pin. Even if you had missing part R, you would have nothing like missing part Q which fits into it. You ransack the wrapping paper again, in what the novelists call cold fury, but with no luck. Finally, with great self-control you smooth the wrinkled directions and read that jargon over again out loud. It is then that you come across Step 2. “In assembling Model A-200 Junior, our second-rate cheaper model for pikers, Step 2 may be disregarded,” the directions say. “No sight comes with this model. There is, however, a cotter pin. You can stick it on the barrel with adhesive tape and play like it’s a sight. It ain’t much, but neither are you.”

There is one final step - mounting the crank. “Slip Directional Crank 16 through Arm Y into Slot EE,” the directions say. “When in position, give crank one quarter turn counterclockwise. Trigger should then fall sharply back into firing position.” This is simplicity itself, and the only trouble is that if the crank goes through Arm Y, it misses Slot EE by a good quarter of an inch. The bitter thoughts that arise on Christmas Eve about the sleepwalker who bored that slot must visibly affect the temperature.

But the direction writer thought about this impasse, forehanded soul that he is. “It may be necessary, for best results - meaning, to make the thing work at all - to enlarge aperture in Arm Y. This can be done quickly and easily by using a 16.3 metal file without tang, a 13-oz. dinging hammer, and some Australian canoe-builders’ flux.” This is equipment the ordinary household would be just as likely to have as a Javanese blow gun and a guroo bird, and you know, as your thoughts profane the early Christmas air, that the only 16.3 file in the world is one resting in the manufacturers plant 850.3 miles away across the snowy landscape. So you gouge out a new Slot EE four times the proper size, the crank falls into place, wobbling foolishly, and the task is done. If it holds together until Christmas afternoon you will be agreeably surprised, and a glance at the clock tells you that won’t be long.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. If there weren’t, ugly mobs of maddened parents would rove the streets Christmas Day armed with bolts, pins, wheels and axles, and some toy manufacturer would end up assembled on Movable Rail A wearing Tar B and Feathers C, after a slight going-over with No. 16 emery paper and a common hydraulic half-knurled center punch.

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