Crowdsourced Edits to Various DIY Home Improvement Instructions to Account For My Incompetence, by Roger Taylor

diy• Before starting the job, put on shoes and pants.

• You’ve heard the phrase, “Measure twice and cut once”? Please measure three times. And then have someone else measure, because you aren’t doing it right.

• The only acceptable object with which to hammer is a hammer.

• If you don’t have a ladder, borrow one from a neighbor. Stacking a stool on top of a coffee table seems like a bad idea now, so think of how bad it’ll seem once you’re up there.

• I know that the four-year-old, unsealed tube of caulk is appealing because it’s already in the house and doesn’t cost any additional money, but it’s been 20 minutes and you can probably stop squeezing the caulk gun now.

• One door hinge is not enough. No, not even if you “put it in the exact middle of the door.”

• When welding, oven mitts are not an acceptable replacement for heat resistant gloves.

• For the handsaw to work, you need to apply downward pressure. Don’t listlessly drag it back and forth. Everyone’s watching you and thinking about how bad you must be in bed.

• Using spackle for non-intended purposes does not count as any less stupid than using duct tape just because it “seems more contractor-y.”

• If you’re eyeing that package of toothpicks, wondering if you can use one as a shim, stop. Yes, technically, you can jam a toothpick into a lot of things. You can also use a shoe as a ladle. That doesn’t make it a good idea.

• Do not put the fiberglass wick in your mouth.

• Before you get into a tricky position it’ll be hard to get out of, check to make sure you’re holding the bubble level and not a big sandwich.

• Don’t put the fiberglass wick there either. Just stop touching it.

• The phrase “cut corners” is not usually meant to be taken literally, but go ahead and take it that way. Oval cabinets are a bad idea. You’re thinking it will give your kitchen a 2001 vibe, but you’re forgetting that:
a) You don’t live on a space station.
b) You didn’t even like that movie.
c) If there’s a person in the world who can make symmetrical ellipses with a hacksaw, you are not that person.
d) It’s obviously a stupid idea.

• If you aren’t sure where the tape measure is, find it. Do not convert the inches to cubits and try to measure with your arm.

Roger Taylor writes short-form humor, long-form journalism, and screenplays. His work has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Morning News, The Escapist, and several mimeographed Golden Girls fanzines. Follow him on Twitter.

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