Chinese Plumbing for Beginners

I think plumbing is really the worst of all the trades, especially for beginners. It’s complex, full of tricks, you’re always straining on your hands and knees, and the consequences of screwing up can be unfortunate. I was glad when this morning’s plumbing adventure included a laugh or two. I’d bought a toilet, cheap one made in China, it seemed well enough made but upon opening the package I encountered the parallel world of Chinglish instructions. If the goal was to obfuscate then Lewis Carrol himself couldn’t have written them any better. The multi-page instructions were printed on the lightest of tissue paper in 1-pt. font with copious (helpful?) diagrams. First up was the list of Required Tools:

  1. Cuspate pincer
  2. Sidealong-shape screwdriver
  3. Maganity localizer

(I’m not making this up…) The first two I thought I could finesse, but I haven’t seen a “maganity localizer” at the hardware store (maybe the Star Wars Memorabilia website has one). OK.

Next was a NOTE: “In order to avoid injuring body, according to the material object if there is little difference”. This gave me some pause to reflect: was it intended as an instruction; or a warning; or was this some kind of inscrutable Confucian brain teaser? Maybe plumbers needed to invoke a Zen-like state in order to complete a successful  installation. Hmm…According to the material object if there is little difference…I parked some unfinished thoughts on that and decided to ponder it more deeply later on.

Next came two seemingly critical instructions:

  1. “When using please clean the filter termically”;
  2. “Full flush rodfall if correct!”

The exclamation point made me re-read this last several times. A “rodfall” is a nice image but still cryptic. And my supply of “termic cleaner” is running low.

Then some advice that seems solid enough for plumbers but might also apply to people pursuing a swinging lifestyle:

“Make effect to screw, but avoid looseness and leakage.”

The next section was called: “Exclusive Ways of Normal Problem”. I agree, those Normal Problems always seem to have their Exclusive Ways, no argument there.

And finally a helpful note:

“If there is any question mark with our operation, please contact local distribution and they will give you satisfactory personnel”.  It’s comforting to know that platoons of very satisfactory Chinese engineers are on standby around the globe, ready to help puzzled DIY guys like me.

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