Friday, September 2, 2011

"The Best Seat in the House"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

I am not one to couch my comments, so I will come right out and say that I would be a couch potato if my wife, Sue, let me eat potatoes on the couch. Sadly, I can no longer eat, sleep, drink beer, watch football, get thrown up on by our kids or do anything else on the best couch we ever had because it has gone to what I assume is, appropriately, its eternal rest.

This couch had great sentimental value because it was our first major piece of furniture, a brown, beige and gold work of upholstered craftsmanship dating back to 1978, when Sue and I got married.

The couch was also called the sofa because I’d relax on it while I should have been doing household chores and would say to Sue, “Sofa, so good,” to which she would reply, “Maybe you’d like to sleep on it tonight.”

It was almost as comfortable as our bed, though with slightly less legroom. It also was durable enough to withstand the worst kind of abuse, such as spills (beer, soda, baby formula) and soils (from our daughters, Katie and Lauren, before they were potty trained). The messes were easily wiped away because the couch was made of some super-resistant, possibly bulletproof material that did not, unfortunately, repel cat and dog hair.

The couch was a repository for food — pretzels, popcorn and, of course, potato chips — that had been dropped between the cushions. A yearly cleaning could have produced enough nourishment to feed Luxembourg.

I often munched away on the couch because it was my ringside seat for televised sporting events. I parked myself there for Super Bowl clashes, World Series showdowns, Stanley Cup contests and March Madness matchups. When a big game wasn’t on, I would watch something intellectual, like the Three Stooges.

The couch will go down in posterity, if not prosperity, as the site of an infamous photo taken one Halloween when I dressed up as Groucho Marx and our next-door neighbor, Frank, dressed up as a lady of the evening, complete with a wig, lipstick, stockings and a padded dress. I must say, he looked pretty good. We sat next to each other on the couch as Sue took our picture. If it ever turns up, I could lose thousands of dollars in blackmail money.

The best couch photo of all time did turn up recently when Katie’s husband, Dave, posted an old shot of the girls on Facebook. Katie, who was about 3 years old, was sitting on the couch with two Strawberry Shortcake dolls and a box of Cheerios; Lauren, who was 1, was leaning against the couch, sucking her thumb. Under the photo was the announcement that, since Katie and Dave were moving, the couch was for sale.

Katie had taken possession of it nine years ago, when she graduated from college and had moved into the apartment that she and Dave were now vacating.

Sue and I would have taken back the couch, which no one bought, but we are empty nesters in the sense that our kids may have moved out, but a lot of their stuff is still with us, which means the nest isn’t empty at all.

We recently spent the weekend with Katie and Dave as they got ready to move. For two nights, Sue slept on the couch. “I had two of the best nights’ sleep of my life on that dumb couch,” she said.

That morning, Dave and I carried it to the curb, where it was claimed by the garbageman. Maybe he took it home, but more likely it went to the dump and was crushed to kindling.

Farewell, old couch. Rest in pieces.

Copyright 2011 by Jerry Zezima


JustRex said...

In our 23+ years of marriage we have been through several couches. All of them from thrift stores or garage sales. None of them very comfortable in the way yours was. I got fed up with the deal a couple of years ago and built one that I thought was comfy and long enough that someone over six feet tall (like me) could sleep on in a pinch. To my immense surprise it actually came out right and not too ugly and fairly comfortable. Heavy as heck, but I can sleep on it. Yay!!!

Jerry Zezima said...

Darev2005, you're the opposite of me (lucky for you) in that you're handy and your best couch is the current one. If I tried to build a couch, I'd probably rupture a vital organ and would have to lie down on our present, vastly inferior couch to recover. The old one is gone but not forgotten.

JustRex said...

It was the first time I ever built anything of that magnitude and i was completely shocked when it worked out right. I'm a haphazard carpenter at best.

Jerry Zezima said...

Now, Darev2005, you can rest on your laurels, as well as your couch.

Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

Aww--there's nothing like your first couch. I laughed out loud at the idea that the food cleaned out could be used to feed others. I used to feel that way about cleaning my car.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Heidi. Whether the food was from our couch or your car, it could probably feed a lot of people, none of whom would want to eat it.

Reading In Bed said...

We always used a twin sized mattress on a bed frame, covered with a sort of combination bedspread/straight jacket that I sewed from some fabric that was hanging around my mother's attic for thirty years. By piling bolsters and throw pillows across the back of it, we could pretend that it was legitimate seating furniture, and not a cross-dressing bed.

I hope you've had the picture of your daughters hanging around the old couch framed. Some things deserve to be immortalized.

Jerry Zezima said...

Reading in Bed, I bet that piece of improvised furniture was comfortable. And I bet you did a lot of reading on it. As for the photo of the girls and the old couch, my older daughter and her husband have it. Good idea to get it framed, even if it's a small Polaroid. The couch isn't around anymore, but the memories will last forever. Thanks for your comment.