When I was six, I thought grownuppery would happen at nine. At nine, I thought thirteen was the age of adulthood. At thirteen, I knew I was at the pinnacle of wisdom and maturity – if only my teachers and parents would acknowledge that I was their equal. Once I got over that assumption, I always aimed a few years ahead for the exact moment when I would become an adult, or at least behave like one. Now, at 33 and expecting a baby of my own, I pretty much feel like a kid most of the time. Except for one thing: I now read the directions that come with my toys. Which is how I found the following misdirections this morning in the packaging for my camera’s battery charger. This multi-folded bit of paper assures me that I am not yet an adult – after all, adults should be able to process even complex directions such as this:

When the charging is complete, the LED light will turn orange. As(sic) this point, the battery can be removed for use. It is recommended, however, that you leave the battery connected to the charger for another 30 minutes to ensure a full, or “topped off”, charge. It is best to remove the battery after charging but it is ok to leave the batery(sic) in the charger for a short time because the micro processor controller will reduce voltage loss.

Um, wha–? Take the “batery” out when? After the light turns orange, or a half hour after that, or after it’s finished charging, which is when, exactly? And if it’s supposed to come out a while after the light turns orange and there’s no buzzer or beep or bloop to tell me when that happens, how do I know? Do I time it? Do I watch the battery charge? That’s guaranteed to be a fun time.

And that is why I read the directions: They make me feel young. And they amuse me severely.