“There are those that say, you can test too much. You do know that.”

“Who says that?”

“Read the manuals. Read the books."

“Manuals? What manuals?”

“Read the books.”

“What books?”

— Axios’s Jonathan Swan interviewing President Trump

Located in a secret alcove in the White House is a set of manuals. They explain in simple language and with illustrations every matter the president might encounter. Everyone knows about them, so that you can allude to them in conversation and people know what you are talking about: The Manuals, The Books. You might as well say “the Constitution” for how recognizable these are to the average listener. (Although the interviewer in this situation does not understand the reference, this is because he is from Australia; everyone in America knows about the presidential Manuals, Books.) But only the president has access to the wisdom they contain, which is why his decisions are always so opaque and baffling to all those around him.

We have managed to cobble together from clues left us in the president’s public pronouncements just what these manuals contain. They go roughly as follows:


Congratulations on your purchase of America! It is a smooth-running country for an optimist who likes a newer country model with elements of Britain’s byzantine law code and the Byzantine Empire’s devotion to Roman architectural stylings, but stripped of features that come standard in other countries, such as parental leave or health insurance that does not depend on your employer. It handles more smoothly and responsively than the European Union, sometimes.

Light Switches: Do not locate any of the light switches during at least your first month in office. After this time, they will recognize your dominance and start obeying on their own.

Safety Instructions: Notice! Most of America’s fail-safe measures only work if the Senate is excited about them. (See: Impeachment, p. 497; 25th Amendment, p. 497, Elections, p. 498.) If you are trying to operate the country during a pandemic, please note that Extreme Federalism should be turned off for it to function at peak efficiency. See pp. 503-504 for why this makes sense. If you would prefer not to read even this short, simple explanation, yes, you can, theoretically, force the individual governors of the individual states to handle all of the pandemic response on their own.

Can My Son-In-Law Help: See p. 338.

Assembly Instructions: In America, assembly is free. If you would like to have somebody fire pepper balls at people assembling freely, see p. 47.

Installation Instructions: The Senate is supposed to approve anyone you put in charge of things. Unfortunately, sometimes, the Senate chamber can get jammed and will only accept people with certain qualifications for certain positions. To work around this issue, you can simply put acting directors in charge of everything. See p. 68 for quick, slip-shod instructions on installing these acting directors or pp. 200-307 for a detailed precis of how appointments are supposed to work.

Maintenance: From its roads to its democratic systems, almost everything in America requires maintenance. All of this can be solved by simply announcing, solemnly, at the beginning of each week, that it is Infrastructure Week. This will let the country know that it has not been forgotten about and will free you up for more important matters.

Troubleshooting: For ‘shooting trouble,’ see Second Amendment and Its Discontents, pp. 800-1002. For less literal troubleshooting, see Hurricanes (Regular, pp. 1003-1007 and Wettest Ever From the Standpoint of Water pp. 1007-1040), Pandemics (Testing: Can You Do Too Much? You Do Know That Experts Say Yes, pp. 1041-1100) and Acts of God (p. 338).

Specs: The specs need to be updated by a census soon. Please turn to p. 2000 for instructions on how to conduct one. Or, if you would rather not, don’t!

Compliance: The president has an Article II that lets him do anything he wants.

Warranty: Expires in 2020.

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