Some Assembly Required

  1. Open the box to your Innotronics INT-11613 Stereo Shelf Unit with a cutting implement. Always cut away from your body, not towards.
  2. Power the unit on. Contact customer service if your unit does not power on correctly. You may be asked for additional information.
  3. Additional information can include but is not limited to credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and the height, weight and location of firstborn children.
  4. Just kidding about that last thing. Innotronics Incorporated is not liable for any additional charges that may or may not be attributed to your account, as our customer service is outsourced, and between me and you, we have no real control over them.
  5. Once the unit is powered on, you should be good to go.
  6. Sorry. Attach the speakers using the diagram provided. Left speakers are marked with blue, right speakers are marked with red. Why did I ever want this job in the first place?
  7. Test the unit by opening the compact-disc tray and inserting a compact disc. The CD player at our wedding skipped and instead of letting me and Hubby dance in a smooth circle around the floor, two words of the second verse of Our Song stuttered and stuttered and instead of making everyone laugh, it seemed like a bad thing, and I’m not a superstitious person but it felt like there was something new about it, something about the song I’d never heard before, like maybe it was all teetering, about to fall, about to get knocked out of order by a skipping CD player.
  8. Where was I?
  9. Once you have verified the CD player is operable, remove the CD from the unit and store it safely.
  10. Tune the radio to a station of your choice. When I was younger it was this station called WFRG, Froggy 96. They loved frog jokes. Corny jokes only a hick radio station could get away with. Still. When you’re young and you’re looking at the first guy you’ve ever kissed not two seconds after you kissed him for the first time and the romantic song ends and the deejay comes on and tells everyone to have a hoppin’ good time, you just want to scream sometimes, which I did, and he laughed, until he realized I was angry, and then he didn’t really know what to do, but then I got real embarrassed and apologized and he said that he would help me, and I believed him. I should have known when the CD skipped, really. I should have known we were too young and too dumb to know any better. We believed in it because it seemed like everyone else did. I knew about my problems. Not his.
  11. Two weeks after we got engaged, he put a stereo in my car. It took about five times as long as he said it would take, but that was okay, because I got to be with him five times longer than I thought I would. He drilled through the inside of the trunk and some of the shards landed on his chest, shiny little silver pigtails of hot metal, and he yelled and slapped them away. I asked him if he was okay and he just grinned and laughed like he always did and he looked at me and he said “Pain is temporary. Stereo is forever.”
  12. You can plug other things in. Or you can use the Bluetooth function.
  13. Isn’t it funny how we hear music everywhere, and it’s part of our lives without us even realizing it, like air, something we can’t see or touch, but we know it when it isn’t there?
  14. You can use an external cable to connect additional equipment. Getting this job wasn’t easy. The human resources individual looked at my resume and everything and well, you know how when people think they’re having their time wasted, they get real short with you, and they just see everything that’s wrong with you? Like that big three-year employment gap on my resume. And I’ve got to tell him, no, that wasn’t a sabbatical, no, I wasn’t out of the country, I was just off someplace where I could calm down. Of course, when you say this, you sit there and watch their face do this dance. So you say, I’m fine, I’m fine now, I just went dark for a while, down for repairs, I had to call customer service for myself, but I’m on my feet again, and I just want to stay on them, and I just want to get back into the world. I’ve always been good at telling that one.
  15. We were married seven months and three days. He had his troubles. Not like mine. His were — something stranger. I thought mine were enough for both of us, but that’s where I was wrong. I did that thing where I’d scream. I’d scream sometimes, just to let it out, let all the bad out. Sometimes I did it around other people, and it scared them, but it didn’t scare him, and I thought because it didn’t scare him, it didn’t scare anyone, and it took me a long time to realize that it scared people, because sometimes I just had to scream. He never seemed like he got scared, but I know he must have been, because he screamed too, not like me, but in his own way, and he understood. I didn’t love him because he was like me, I loved him because he was my husband. But he would just go away. He’d be sitting there, on the couch, in bed, in the shower, and his body would be there, but not him. My therapist said it was depression but I didn’t understand that. It didn’t seem to go with what I saw. He worked during the day, and came home, and ate dinner, and at night, he was there for me too, but every minute he was there, he was going somewhere else, and it made me so sad. He was screaming. All the time. I just couldn’t hear him.
  16. To calibrate your speakers, refer to the separate instructions. I didn’t write those. I don’t have to. There’s another woman in the department here who does the calibration instructions. I just do the ones about putting things together. That’s funny to me, and I’d laugh at that, but sometimes it scares people when I do that, because it sounds like a laugh in my head, but to other people it can sound like screaming, and since I know now that my screaming scares people, I try not to laugh or scream when people might be able to hear me, I wait until I get home and everything is calm and quiet and safe.
  17. When the CD skipped at the wedding, people looked at me all afraid because I guess they thought I would start screaming, but I didn’t. All I did was laugh, and Hubby did too, which is why everyone left thinking it would be OK after all. Our Song was sung by a man with rocks in his throat but it was beautiful, is beautiful, and there’s a line in it, something about someone swaying to music with her eyes closed, but the CD started skipping and all we heard was the line after it, “but it’s cold and there’s no music,” one time, twice, five times, ten times before anyone else could get it to stop, and even though I laughed and he laughed and everyone else did too, that’s all I heard, it’s cold and there’s no music, cold, no music, cold, no music. And ever since then whenever I hear music I think of that, I think of cold, and nothing. But things were fine after that. Mostly they were fine. That’s the worst part. Being there all those times and thinking it was fine but it really wasn’t.
  18. He asked me once what I would do if he ever left. We were sitting at the dinner table eating some reheated leftovers and he just asked me. This was the third month we were married. I didn’t know what to say, so I made a joke. Like, “I’ll change the locks and charbroil your stuff in the oven.” He’d usually laugh. But not that time. Not that one time. “Do you think you can make it?”, he said. I said “no,” I said, “I don’t know.” But he said, “I know you will.” He said, “you’ve always been the strong one.”
  19. To apply treatment to a cut, follow these steps.
  20. Remember the ABCs: Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Make sure the patient’s airway is clear, and that they can breathe. Then control the bleeding.
  21. Apply direct pressure to the wound. Do not remove anything embedded in the wound, such as the box cutter from the bottom of his toolbox.
  22. Seek medical attention immediately. I told you right off the bat to be careful with cutting implements but you didn’t listen. You said you wouldn’t cut yourself again. You promised. I didn’t write these instructions. Someone else did. The only thing I knew to do was, seek medical attention immediately.
  23. Music is everywhere. It’s everywhere but we can’t see it. If we could, we might not even like it. We just know that when we do hear it, it makes us feel sad, or happy, or hyper, or relaxed. When we think thoughts, they’re invisible too, and if only I could have seen his.
  24. Innotronics Incorporated warrants your INT-11613 against any defects for a two-year period after purchase. We will repair or replace any non-functioning unit at no charge. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I wish we could do that. I wish we would take our problems back to the manufacturer. But we have to make do with what we have. I was the strong one after all. I know this because now I tell people how to put things together. Some things come to you in pieces and sometimes there are no instructions and you have to figure it out yourself. I wish I had known that before. But I didn’t. And that’s okay. Because now I can tell you how to put your stereo together. And stereo is forever.