On the Assembly of a &*%# Fan

There are times when we are confronted with just how much we have become like our parents. For some, this is a heartbreaking look at your turkey gobbler neck in the mirror. For others, it’s a snort-filled laugh, or a predilection for middle-aged bassists.

For me, it’s putting together a fan.

When I was ten, my friend Eddie and I watched from an esoteric locale (basement steps) while my dad attempted to put together a ceiling fan. It was sort of like watching Frodo engage in hand to hand combat with a propeller. We could barely contain our giggles as his frustration grew in a circus of exaggeration and profanity. His face had gone completely red, and as he exploded like some deranged Italian volcano, we knew that by watching we’d gotten an education, but perhaps hadn’t been ready for this particular rite of passage.

My vocabulary of vulgarities quadrupled in one hour.

By the time I walk the two miles to my house, I am…irritable. It is 36° (96.8°), I am liquefying, and have just paid 899Kc ($45) for a fan that would cost $12 at Walmart. As I open the box and realize that I have to put the entire thing together, I grumble in some unknown language.

It has begun.

The cat lounges in lethargy on the cool tile floor of my hallway and watches as I name each piece of the fan after a sexual act, a sexual verb, a part of the human body, or excrement. By the last piece—fan pitch adjustment clamp—I have run out of things, so I name it by adding the female mammary system to a duck.

Despite my immediate misgivings, things go swimmingly at first and I envision an afternoon of cool lounging, drinking iced tea, and talking in a southern accent. But then, things change.

H. The missing piece. This wouldn’t be the Czech Republic if they didn’t throw some impossible curveball in your direction. In this case it’s H. Step number 6 calls for the tightening clamp (H). On the Parts Identification List there is A-G, and there is I-N. There is no H. H is what holds the top part of the standing fan to the bottom part of the standing fan. Without H, I will have to lay the fan on the ground and lie down in front of it while cursing the Czech Republic and everyone who was born here. Without H, I will have to prop it between couch cushions and tell people my fan is a deformed cousin with a breathing problem. Without H, my cool afternoon is turning into a red and black volcanic explosion and chili cook off.

I am overheating, dripping, red-faced, and fully aware of the irony that as I approach the boiling point, I am unsuccessfully trying to put together the only thing in my house that could conceivably cool me down.

I must blackout at some point, because when I come to, the top of the fan is attached to the bottom and I am assembling the fan head. I still have not identified piece H.

Let me just say that the diagram depicting the assembly of the fan head is so vague that it resembles the Shroud of Turin. In the first, there is a fuzzy, black and white, photocopied, artist’s impression of the fan head. And in the second, there’s a family of eight enjoying a completed fan, a soccer game, and Gambrinus. My cursing has taken on a flavor of Goodfellas, with a hint of weepy desperation. Only by smacking the fan head am I offered a hint as to its assembly procedure. This is because when I hit it, the screw twists a bit, and I realize that to fit on the fan gate I have to remove this screw. This is not mentioned or represented in any way, shape, or form in the instructions.

I finish the fan, and as cool air rushes over me and the three leftover parts (don’t know, don’t care), I almost weep. The cat watches me from the hallway, relieved, a little wiser, a lot disturbed, and hoisting a whole new vocabulary of vulgarity. Time for iced tea.

Y’all come round now, Y’hear?

How did you know you were like one of your parents?

  1. #1 by Hokey Pokey Trainer on June 20, 2013 - 5:40 pm

    This was great.
    I realized I’m like my mom when I started spanking and mocking my bfs’ asses for their shapes and sizes.

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on June 20, 2013 - 10:11 pm

      What do you do to your girlfriends’ parentheses?

  2. #3 by Kelly on June 21, 2013 - 6:09 am

    I don’t have a turkey neck but cellulite runs very deep in my family and my number is up. I love my mother but I also know she will never see this which is why I can say that when I see her in shorts above the knee I pick up extra shifts at work to inflate my plastic surgery fund. Some people save up for a house. I save up for liposuction.

  3. #4 by Julia on June 22, 2013 - 2:21 pm

    “Without H, I will have to prop it between couch cushions and tell people my fan is a deformed cousin with a breathing problem.”

    Oh God, I wish that bad to happen, but am happy your drinking iced tea instead.

    I realized I was turning into mom when i noticed I hum randomly and need to fill all silence with any type of noise.

  4. #5 by Hokey Pokey Trainer on June 23, 2013 - 10:27 am

    *spank* Don’t ask so many questions, Prayer Cushions.

  5. #6 by Andy on June 24, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    Damien, Damien, Damien…there is not enough iced-tea in the world for you to be as cool as us southern gentlemen. As our women like to say, “we don’t sweat, we glisten.”

    You’re still welcome to come eat fried chicken, biscuits and bbq, though. Bring some cheesesteaks for bartering.

    • #7 by Damien Galeone on June 25, 2013 - 8:13 am

      Um, that is a DEAL, old friend! You might actually find me down on your doorstep one of these days, so be careful what you offer!

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