Pete Davison: Read The Gorram Manual

Posted on March 24, 2011 by


I bought a new Xbox headset a few months back because several years of accidentally standing and/or sitting on my old one had caused it to finally give up the ghost. I was excited to see that they’re now made of black plastic and have a mute switch on the cable instead of sticking out of the controller. (I wasn’t really excited.)

What I was a little surprised by, though, was this:

One of these must be useful for something.

Yes, those are six instruction leaflets. For a headset. A headset whose functionality can be summed up by telling the chronically stupid and/or non tech-savvy to plug it into their controller, attach it to their head and talk into it whilst making sure the switch is green, not red. And making sure their Xbox is turned on, obviously, and that they’re in a situation where they are able to talk to people.

Actually, most of those leaflets aren’t taken up with useful information on how to use the headset. A considerable proportion of them are spent making sure you don’t spend your time jamming it up your arse or swallowing it or accidentally dismantling it instead of talking into it. In several different languages. Which is nice and Continental, but ultimately rather redundant.

Ironically, considering we live in an age where things are supposed to be so intuitive we don’t need manuals, then, that even the most mundane things come with instruction leaflets designed to ensure we 1) don’t kill ourselves with things that you’d have to workreally hard to kill yourself with and 2) don’t sue the manufacturers when we accidentally kill ourselves with things that you’d have to work really hard to kill yourself with.

Imagine, then, if literally everything had an associated instruction leaflet. Can you identify what the following three things are?


1. Remove from storage and place on flat, stable surface.
2. Ensure receptacle is empty.
3. Fill receptacle with liquid of your choice, ensuring to leave 1-2cm of empty space.
4. Grasp handle with dominant hand.
5. Raise, apply to front facial orifice and tilt back slightly, ensuring that liquid flows into orifice and not around.


This device operates in different manners according to gender and required usage. Please follow the appropriate instructions.

1. Switch seat to required position. Ensure there is an open space available and receptacle is not covered.
2. If male and requiring usage (a) (see Appendix), stand in front of device. If female and requiring usage (a) or either gender and requiring usage (b) (see Appendix), sit on device, ensuring feet remain firmly on floor if possible.
3. If male and requiring usage (a), ensure clear line of sight is available between appendage P and device (see diagram 4.1) before commencing. For all other uses, ensure lower body is free of obstructions.
4. If male and requiring usage (a), activate flow from appendage P using muscle F (see diagram 6.9). If female and requiring usage (a), activate flow from region V using muscle F (see diagram 5.2). For all other uses, release safety catch on region A using muscle Q (see diagram 7.6).
5. Continue use until no longer required. Discontinue flow or return safety catch on region A to Regular position.
6. If usage (b) has been undertaken, use of accessory T may be required. Follow instructions in the Appendix for appropriate usage of accessory T.


This device requires a compatible accessory. See Appendix B for suggested devices to use in conjunction with this one.

1. Ensure device is firmly attached to compatible accessory via smaller end.
2. Insert larger ends of device into aural cavities.
3. Activate compatible device. In the case of discomfort during use, refer to compatible device’s instructions to minimise aural discomfort and/or ensure content compatible with local guidelines of taste and decorum is in use.

To make a comment, click in the boxes below and supply the relevant information, inserting your comment into the largest box. Move the mouse pointer onto the Post Comment button by moving the mouse, and depress the left mouse button with your index finger, then quickly release it to confirm the posting of your comment.


Posted in: Pete Davison