Writing a manual? (on-topic humor)

Subject: Writing a manual? (on-topic humor)
From: Darcey Harding <STU_DCHARDIN -at- VAX1 -dot- ACS -dot- JMU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 17:57:50 -0500

If Architects Had to Work like Technical Writers

(originally If Architechts Had to Work Like Programmers, author unknown)

Dear Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I
need, so you should use your discretion.

My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make
sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or
deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final
decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each
configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than
the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct
all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my
kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have
nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly
maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the
incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or
composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared
to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials
are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace
for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that
kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952
Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire
family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also
our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how
the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a
year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come
to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any
choices that you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to
develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this
time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of
the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build
the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and
specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect
the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind
that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It
therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers.
Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a
consensus of the population in my area that they like the features
this house has.

I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor's house he constructed
last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would
also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool.
With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our
new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at
this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for
construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held
accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of
later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as
this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be
given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very
often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the
instructions I've given you in this letter. As architect, it is your
responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past
and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this
responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer.
Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.

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