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Tue, Jun. 15th, 2004, 03:03 pm
The Hitchiker's Guide to the VCR

The Washington Post took my Douglas Adams rewrite of VCR instructions and adapted it for their "Style Invitational" contest. Here's my original entry.

Douglas Adams, "The Hitchiker's Guide to the VCR":

Pick up the remote and press the Menu button. It's the one clearly marked "Menu," unless it isn't, in which case you should press the Menu button that isn't clearly marked.

There's a menu item Four, which you should press next. Some models have a button with the number four. Some models have buttons in a vicious little sequence that the designers keep a secret, and who could blame them; they spend their lives building control interfaces and it's not like you can impress ladies at the pub with your thrilling dangerous tales of remote control design, now can you?

The screen will display instructions to set the clock, or it won't. If you see instructions, congratulations, you are one in the top .000004% of the species in the galaxy with the patience and misguided priorities to endure such twaddle. At this point, you might as well follow the instructions; tell us how it comes out. We have no friends, and could use a good laugh.

WARNING: If anyone ever discovers exactly how to follow these instructions and why they are written in this manner, they will instantly disappear and be replaced by even more bizarrely inexplicable instructions. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.