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.