Sink Stopper Problem
First, when you raise the rod on the sink, this should close (lower) the stopper. When you push down on the rod, it raises the stopper and allows water to drain. The offset in the metal strap was intentional, since sometimes the length of the rod that controls the stopper (from the drain pipe) is too short. From under the sink. push the rod that comes from the pipe all the way down. Then connect the rod or strap that operates the stopper. Be sure to snug the thumbscrew tightly.
If you have never made a mistake, you haven't done much.