A Sofa By Any Other Name

It’s raining tonight in the Florida Panhandle. My wife is sitting on our sofa watching television. Our two ninety-pound dogs are asleep on her lap. There is no room for me on the couch. I am sitting on the floor.

Long ago, our couch was a nice-looking one. I should know since I’m the one who bought it for fifty bucks from the newspaper classifieds.

The ad read: “Nice leather couch, $50, OBO.”

Fifty bucks. What a deal. There’s nothing that the men in my family loved more than bragging about our good deals. My father, for instance, would drag innocent pedestrians into our garage just to show off his used Ford station wagon because he got a good deal on it.

He would say, “Can you believe the deal I got on this heap? IT WAS THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY!”

Everything was always the “deal of the century” to my father. Even clearance spaghetti sauce at the supermarket.

Anyway, when I bought this sofa I had just recovered from lower back surgery. The surgeon warned me not to lift anything heavier than a ham sandwich. To move it I enlisted the help of my buddy, Lyle, and my wife, Jamie.

We all arrived at the enormous high-rise condo across town. The unit was located on the 22nd floor. It wasn’t the highest floor, but it was high enough to wave hello to low flying aircraft from the balcony.

The place was grungy and looked like a frat house apartment. No sooner had we walked through the front door than we were greeted by a pile of stinky laundry the size of Mount McKinley, several old pizza boxes, and a half-clothed female.

A young man with a ponytail introduced himself as “Shark.” He smacked the upholstery and said, “She’s a good little sofa, bro. Lotta good memories on this little baby.”

Then he removed a stale slice of pizza from between the cushions and said, “Those grease stains will buff right out.”

It was a heavy piece of furniture. At least that’s what my wife told me. I wasn’t lifting. Doctor’s orders.

Lyle and Jamie muscled it into the breezeway, cussing the whole way. But I still did my part by supportively clapping and shouting, “Looking good, guys! Looking reeeeal good!”

That day, I learned something about myself. I am a skilled director. And life needs good directors who clap a lot. Just think, if there were no directors there wouldn’t be any Christmas pageants, PTA meetings, Baptist floral arrangement committees, or Communist dictators.

So I did a lot of directing and hand-clapping. “This way! Watch out for that wall! Don’t let your end drop! Pick up the pace! Put your butt into it, sweetie!”

Then it happened. When we reached the elevator doors we realized something was terribly wrong. The elevator was about the size of a residential walk-in shower. The sofa would not fit inside.

My wife walked to the breezeway railing, gazed down twenty-two flights of stairs, and in a moment of startling clarity she said, “I’m getting a divorce.”

But it all worked out in the end. We successfully moved the sofa downstairs through pure determination. And I’d like to pause here to sincerely say to Lyle and Jamie, if they’re reading this, that this incredible feat would have never been possible without all my clapping.

The sofa looked great in our living room. Even my wife agreed that it really set the room off. But that was a long time ago. I’m sad to report that the current state of our sofa is somewhere between ratty, and utterly in shambles because we own two dogs.

Dogs are funny creatures. They love sofas. They use our couch as a safe place to gnaw on chew toys. And our dogs have a huge assortment of designer chewing paraphernalia.

Most of these toys are simply enormous bones. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that there are at least twenty cattle knuckle bones and shin bones strewn throughout my house.

So the headquarters for all this canine chewing is our sofa. In other words: Our couch belongs to our dogs.

They are always lying on it, sleeping on it, guarding it, and even though they we own more livestock bones than the North Texas beef industry, my dogs occasionally chew on the upholstery.

Whenever I want to sit on my own furniture I have to ask their permission. And in the evenings when we watch television, there is no room for me.

Usually, my wife sits on the sofa with two Clydesdales plopped in her lap and I end up sitting on the floor. Kind of like I’m doing right now.

I am seated on the cold floor, criss-cross style, typing on a laptop while my dogs snooze on the sofa. My wife is snoring gently.

I am listening to the rain fall outside. It’s coming down like Niagara. The wind is whistling across the trees. I look at my little raggedy family and realize something I haven’t thought about before. Everything that I will ever need in this world fits on one tiny sofa.

And I bought the thing for only fifty bucks.

It was the deal of the century.


  1. Harriet White - Atlanta - January 12, 2020 8:40 am

    That was wonderful. You should see our sofa. It’s gone to the dogs for sure. Whenever our Pitt bull hears a noise he runs to the sofa, leaps on the cushion and stands on the arm of the sofa and barks out the window. No one knows what he’s barking about. He looks like the captain of a ship.

  2. Cathi Russell - January 12, 2020 9:44 am

    Yep, it truly was the deal of the century!

  3. ROGER A BURRELL - January 12, 2020 10:46 am

    You and my wife must be kindred spirits. She is a great director also! our dogs do indeed love the couch.

  4. Marilyn - January 12, 2020 12:28 pm

    We have a sofa and loveseat that the dogs have taken over as well as the recliner and my chair and ottoman. They have their own beds, but they prefer people furniture more, I guess since they think they are human. Im looking for a deal of the century now.

  5. Dave Wilson - January 12, 2020 12:48 pm

    UNDERSTAND, ‘deal of the century’!!!

  6. Dianne - January 12, 2020 1:09 pm

    Wonderful story, and a wonderful reminder of the things in our lives are truly the most important. Thank you, Sean!

  7. Gail Y - January 12, 2020 2:08 pm

    Just wonderful.

  8. Bobbie Edwards - January 12, 2020 2:29 pm

    I think that’s the most dear and profound line ….’Everything I’ll ever need is on one tiny sofa.’ You and your family are so blessed. I know your wife and dogs know that too ❤️👏👏👏

  9. Marcia Lynn MacLean - January 12, 2020 2:44 pm

    I just love your endings!

  10. Edna Barron - January 12, 2020 2:55 pm

    I agree, your sofa is and was the deal of the century. You are blessed, my friend. I’m wishing you a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  11. Landa - January 12, 2020 3:06 pm

    Sean, some days – most days – you make my heart glad.

  12. Berryman Mary M - January 12, 2020 3:26 pm

    We have a new miniature bull terrier puppy and my goal is to keep him off the sofa. I’m afraid this goal will last as long as my New Year’s resolutions! Ha!

  13. Linda Moon - January 12, 2020 5:58 pm

    Reading your columns every day is a big deal. I’m sending virtual claps to you every time I read them, and if you could hear me I would be shouting “reeeal good” to you, too. My two furry white cats own a large ratty, but comfy chair-&- a-half that was once black somewhere underneath mounds of white cat fur. They will let me join them a couple of hours before bedtime. There’s no room for my spouse, and there’s no looming divorce that I’m aware of! You and Jamie, together, are a two-for-one deal of the century, so I bet there’s no looming divorce for y’all, either!!

  14. Shelton A. - January 12, 2020 6:37 pm

    My compliments on your clapping. I do know how it is trying to move something heavy and you can’t help. Not the best feeling. My dog chews the corners of my couch pillows. It’s a good thing I love her.

  15. Melanie - January 12, 2020 8:17 pm

    Ditto! 🤣 Where’s Jamie getting the shin bones? Used to be easy to find but are scarcer that hens teeth these days.

  16. Joe Patterson - January 13, 2020 12:24 am

    Can’t beat that a real deal

  17. R. Jay - January 13, 2020 4:40 pm

    Thank you for bringing a smile my way and I even laughed as I read this. Haven’t done that in a while. Our daughter in law has terminal brain cancer and dealing with that and how it impacts our family has been something no one can prepare for. You have such a special gift.

  18. Patricia Gibson - January 14, 2020 6:26 pm

    Great one and so true!

  19. christine Wackrow - January 15, 2020 2:26 am

    beautiful ending

  20. Connie Havard Ryland - January 16, 2020 1:58 pm

    Okay. I was trying to catch up on some columns that I had saved but this is two in a row that left me with leaky eyes. Our dogs own not just our sofa but our house so I get you 100%. I love your little family. I’m so glad you share them with all of us.


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