How NOT to Fend Boredom: Watch Instructional Videos

One Saturday night, my brother and I were alone in the house. With nothing worth watching on satellite TV, I asked if he wanted to watch some instructional videos with me. He agreed and to be fair it wasn’t exactly a high point in our lives. Now, I had intended this to be like MST3K but there were parts that just couldn’t be done. Earlier that night, we hit the thrift store and bought some tapes out of sheer curiousity and wonder as in “I wonder who this tape was intended for.”

Our first tape wasn’t even an instructional video. It was a special interest video intended specifically for cats. We have no cats. It’s like the DOGTV channel that launched a while ago, except stranger. The first three minutes were set up like a comedy with music set for a silent film but had incredibly obnoxious transitions. It was billed that the human owners watch it with their cats. Then, it said that the owners should leave the room. Basically, someone shot some nature footage in their backyard and said it could entertain cats, I think. It was only thirty minutes but it felt like an hour.

Next up was a gem from 1999: “Y2K Non-Computer Security Clearance.” I legally acquired it from a commercial shoot at a bank a few years ago. Seeing as how the threat of Y2K passed, the video was pointless in their library. The only lesson I learned was that, and let me emphasize this in full formatting, DONUTS ARE DANGEROUS! They lead to early morning robberies. The More You Know. And Knowing is Half the Battle.

Then came the last video, a video on how to use a vacuum cleaner. Now, this came with the vacuum we bought more than a decade ago and it was still in the plastic wrap. I took it off and watched with horror. Sure, it’s all about how to use it and the accessories but how it’s done is very strange. It details one woman’s quest to vacuum and shampoo one floor of her house. It takes a whole day; the outside light changes from day to night and back to day. So, she works all day, perfectly content with what she’s doing even though the floor will NEVER stay clean.

There was one part that was so out of place that we both decided to quit watching. In the section discussing the vacuum hose and shampoo application, the majority was spent about how to use it on wood and carpet. But then, for one minute, the narrator talks about how to use it as a head massager. Then, it returns to normal, sane uses for the vacuum cleaner. There was no real reason to talk about it. I’d think people would discover this on their own but for the actual company to say it can be used like that, um, WHY?

No smart remarks, no witty retort, no dark sarcasm from the classroom, it was a bad night. Don’t be desparate to the point where you’ll watch tapes like these unless it’s with friends and all are willing to participate in the event. Maybe then it would be interesting, especially if the humor is timed right. I’d stick with just the MST3K shorts for now until I decide to do this again.


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