An ominous gurgling emanated from the toilet, which meant I had only minutes to act before water and Lord-only-knows-what-else cascaded over the bowl and onto the floor. I grabbed my smartphone and did the obvious:
Call a plumber? No. Email my general contractor? No.
Log on to YouTube? Absolutely.
I seem to rely on the video-sharing giant more frequently these days. Perhaps it's because I recently turned 50 and no longer have the patience to figure things out on my own. Instead, I'm thankful for people like Corey, Blair and Paul, who all took the time to shoot, narrate, edit and upload videos detailing How to fix an overflowing toilet. All of them assured me that this would be an easy task. And it was, once I mastered the art of watching a video on a three-inch screen while simultaneously operating a drain snake and pipe wrench.
Is there a query on this planet that some helpful individual armed with a camera phone, a YouTube account and way too much time on his or her hands hasn't attempted to visually answer? One need only type "How to" in the search box before YouTube completes the sentence, offering suggestions like, "How to Tie a Tie," "How to Make a Paper Gun that Shoots," "How to Love Lil Wayne," "How to Kiss" and my favorite, "How to Get a Six Pack in Three Minutes." The "six pack" referred to abdominal muscles and the video was a bit misleading; I was instructed to perform three minutes of sit ups daily for six months and basically not eat anything with flavor.
Need to know How to use an iPhone 5? There's a video for you. If the sealed iPhone 5 box stymies you, no worries. I found plenty of "How to Unpack the iPhone 5" videos but, upon viewing, discovered most of them should be titled, "Yippee! My iPhone 5 Just Arrived!"
In the past three months, I have watched "How to Install a Ceiling Fan," "How to Blow Out a Sprinkler System" and "How to Program a Universal Remote." After repeated viewings, I've offered my own verbal reviews to my wife and anyone else within earshot:
"What the [expletive] is this guy talking about?"
Yet I'm thankful for those amateur cinematographers whose videos actually made my life easier or taught me a new skill. And I long to contribute my own explanatory video to the YouTube community. But what can I offer? Yes, I'm an excellent outdoor nap taker but, unbelievable as it may seem, somebody already beat me to "How to Sleep in a Hammock." At last count, it had more than 64,000 views, proving the world is teeming with very tired and confused individuals.
So my search for the perfect subject continues. When I find it, I will know exactly how to produce my video, since YouTube has apparently created a few guidelines that must be followed. Among them:
You must begin the tutorial by saying, "What's up, everybody?"
A dog must bark in the background at least three times.
You must not rehearse before recording. Also, say 'like" and "um" whenever possible.
If you are showing the YouTube audience how to do something on a computer, such as "How to Add Special Effects to Home Movies," you must say, '"Oops, let's try this again" at some point. Also, you must move the mouse at lightning speeds while narrating, ensuring that nobody has the slightest idea how you were able to insert the Jaws theme song into the office Christmas party video.
All videos must be no more than three minutes in length, even if the title is "How to Build a Nuclear Submarine."
Wait, I think I just found my subject! A search for "How to Create a 'How to' YouTube Video" yielded no results! I will record and upload this video shortly.
As soon as I find a dog.
Watch Greg's "How To Make a 'How To' YouTube Video" below
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