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Darwin's avatar

Some of the IRS instructions fall into the first category.

peedub's avatar

Origami instructions are always weird. I need a sensei.

augustlan's avatar

Assembly instructions written in English-as-a-second-language usually baffle me.

nebule's avatar

anything other people tell me to do regarding my love life

shockvalue's avatar

To kill the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Yes. I will not jump off a cliff if Johnny does.

susanc's avatar

In college I specialized in not understanding what they wanted me to do. I had to transfer to art school. Like John Lennon.

Jack79's avatar

I can’t lie, even if I have to. Even the simplest lie, such as “go tell that guy over there that you’re over 18 and he’ll give you the X-rated movie, he won’t ask for ID or anything because you’ve got a beard”. I feel like Spock. I really can’t do it at all. I always end up saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, opening my big fat mouth and speaking when I shouldn’t. And of course “just shut up and let me do the talking” falls into the same category too.

laureth's avatar

I find it very hard to do anything that’s pointless. Example: my doctor wants me to exercise more. (Whose doctor doesn’t?) And I have a very easy time obeying if the exercise has a point, like working in the garden to produce vegetables, or walking the dog a mile so the dog (and I) get fresh air and sunshine. But if the exercise has no productive end, like walking on a treadmill or lifting weights, it seems like futility and is very hard to motivate myself to do. Those are instructions I seem unable to obey.

babiturtle36's avatar

I actually had a parent tell me spank their child if they acted up . Uhm, are you crazy??!! NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!

Allie's avatar

When putting something together:
Directions as pictures. Uhh… what?
Ha, and directions with no pictures.

Let’s find a happy balance. =]

steelmarket's avatar

I struggle with this one:
Speed limit = 55 MPH

augustlan's avatar

@steelmarket Is that an instruction? I always think of it as a suggestion. ;)

steelmarket's avatar

Me, too, @augustlan, but the boys with the flashing lights seem to disagree with us.

Jeruba's avatar

I never want to read the instruction manual or the operator’s guide for anything. What I want is for my husband to read it and figure it out and then tell me what to do. But only when I get stuck and ask, and then just tell me what I want to know right then. Nothing extra. Preferably by mind-reading. And without any shouting. You don’t have to shout. I can’t hear you when you shout. Just calmly and patiently tell me only the part that I need just now and no more. Okay? Great, thanks.

wundayatta's avatar

@Jeruba: is your husband reading this? I really admire your ability to state so clearly what you want. You have a much better chance of getting what you want if you ask for it. Especially the mind-reading stuff. I think that women aren’t the only one’s who want their mind’s read by their partners. On the other hand, can’t this wait? It’s the last five minutes of the game!

Jeruba's avatar

@daloon, regrettably, no, he isn’t. His advice would most likely be “RTFM.”

wundayatta's avatar

@Jeruba: well, there is that. Although most men don’t read it either. They jump right in, put it together how they think it should go, and will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the manual. I, too, have told my wife that, on occasion. The cool thing is that my daughter is actually willing to do it!

Out of curiosity, your husband isn’t a coder, by any chance?

Jeruba's avatar

No. He did study EE but ended up in a writing program instead. That incidentally equipped him to be a good technical writer—he knew how to talk to the engineers. I’m the one who used to be a programmer, in a former life.

wundayatta's avatar

Ah, I see. He has a professional interest in having people read the effin manual, then. “By god, no one will ignore my work, or the work of my fellows, most especially not my wife!”

Jeruba's avatar

I edit the stuff. I don’t have to read it.

wundayatta's avatar

@Jeruba: but what does editing get you? Sure the words work properly, but do you have any idea what they were about? or is that copy editing?

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – You know there is reading for structure as well as reading for content, don’t you?

Manual?! I don’t need no stinkin” manual!

wundayatta's avatar

@Darwin: I thought I was saying that? If you read for structure, you miss the content, or so my copy editor friend told me. Unless she told me she was learning stuff through copy editing. Oh well. Memory fails again.

But you go, girl! Throw that manual down the toilet!

Jeruba's avatar

I was joking, @daloon. I don’t edit the type of thing that I would be reading if I were using some product. But I do often wish that somebody had.

Reading to edit (which isn’t reading for structure—I don’t know what that means) is different from reading to learn. I can edit a psychology textbook very capably and yet not be able to ace a test on the content. I don’t try to absorb it, because that’s not my focus, but a lot will rub off. It’s just a different process because it has a different purpose.

I can edit a document without having independent knowledge of the content. It is better that way, in fact, because then I can avoid mentally supplying missing information and can better identify omissions. Yet I still know whether it is logical, orderly, coherent, and internally consistent as well as grammatically correct.

wundayatta's avatar

@Jeruba: I thought I was trying to say the same thing. Alas, we agree again. Where’s the fun in that? Maybe we were all joking in such a way as our humor went zinging by without getting caught. Torture by wet noodle is indicated, don’t you think?

Darwin's avatar

@daloon and @Jeruba: Oh, no! Not the comfy chair!

SeventhSense's avatar

Play nice. Do not question authority.

wundayatta's avatar

What authority?

SeventhSense's avatar

In answer to your initial question.
Have there been instructions you can not, or will not follow?
The instructions that I could not follow were to “play nice” and to “not question authority”. And by authority I meant any implicit leader, teacher, priest, pastor, politician, country, pundit, politico, accepted norm, standard, taste, fashion, etc.

Jeruba's avatar

Two or three decades ago, “Question Authority” was a slogan seen on buttons, T-shirts, etc. It happened to be one that I was greatly in sympathy with, and indeed it was one of the principles by which we raised our children (although we were not quite so keen on having them question our authority!).

One of those head-spinning revelations came to me one day as I was talking with a woman at work and this slogan came up in conversation. Turned out that she was very much in favor of questioning authority. This surprised me. I didn’t think she was the type to challenge the established order—until I found out that she thought it meant this: find somebody who’s an authority on something, and ask them questions…

augustlan's avatar

Oh, that is so sad. Funny, too!

SeventhSense's avatar

That is so find a cop and ask to your local librarian about the Dewey Decimal System..LOL

YARNLADY's avatar

In most of my craft projects, I hardly ever follow the instructions as given. I can nearly always find an easier way to complete the project, and I usually choose to follow my own design ideas, instead of theirs. I have the same approach with recipies. I only look at the amounts and ingredients as a guide, but I cook according to what we like, and what I have on hand.

Amoebic's avatar

Most things having to do with an order of operation. If the outcome will likely be the same, I may switch up the steps in order of most fun to least fun just to be contrary and prove to myself that it could be done.

An8el's avatar

I’m what is known as “low semantic equivalence.” Meaning, words mean “original” things to me. Constantly, I end up puzzling out what someone else meant and coming up with multiple meanings. This makes following directions impossible, unless they’re very specific. I have come to hate gratuitous buzzwords and made-up lingo that seems to function as social status of “those who know”. It’s easy enough to misunderstand without making it harder! Try product testing of the manual destructions for people like me! ARrrgh! Eventually if I do it myself I’ll figure it out, but what a pain it always is for me. So I’ve learned NOT to RTFM. When I teach people, they learn 75% faster than I did, even skills like teaching juggling. That’s because I think about how to make it easy for them. Directions should be like that and they aren’t…at least half the time.

wundayatta's avatar

@An8el Is “low semantic equivalence” a diagnosis of some kind? A personality type?

Communication is a hazardous activity. Try teaching someone how to ride a bike over the phone!

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