I’ve never read the Bible or anything, but I’ve heard an awful lot about it and it seems like a pretty popular read to a lot of people and I’ve flipped through it a couple times. There’s that famous part, in Chapter 1 (or is it the prequel?) where God, the gentleman running the whole show, decides to invent some things and basically conjure everything into existence. This is a bit much, so he takes his time on it all, so that in approximately a week, he’s got it all sorted out. Different “big” things happen on each day; on the first day, God created light, on the second day, God created the Grand Canyon, on the third day, God created the world wide web, on the fourth day, God created man, on the fifth day, God created all the extra stuff floating around in the universe, on the sixth day, God created spiders (he must have been getting very annoyed with the whole process by then), and on the seventh day–and this is a lesser-known aspect of the whole affair–God created My Family’s Couch.
My Family’s Couch is not a band, it is not a euphemism– it’s a couch, one that belongs to my family. You’re probably thinking, “We’re talking about a freaking couch here, for Chrissakes, I don’t understand where we are headed with all this.” Well, impatience and taking God’s kin’s name in vain are both sins, and as an expert in theology and God, I condemn you for your moral shortcomings and will now describe to you the significance of this couch.
Blue. But also white. And pink. And plaid. And a canvass-y linen texture. And stiff. And no cupholders. And on top of that all, old. Horrifically old. Now put it all together: we have this stiff, rigid, couch with hard armrests, very perpendicular back cushions, and a dreadful skirt around the bottom. The canvass-y linen textured cushions are white (or rather, were once white) with blue plaid stitched on it with little minimalist pink flowers centered in each plaid square. The two end seat cushions have recliners, but it takes considerable upper body strength to pull the little half-circle trigger on the side of the couch in order to swing the foot rest up, and even then, you have to butt your shoulders against the back of the couch in order to complete the maneuver. The back is nearly unhinged from the rest of the couch. A family of raccoons made a home out of the inner seat cushions. All of the couch’s bones have been broken from Extreme Wrestling Matches over the years between my father, brother, and me, during which we would throw the entire weight of ourselves against each other and onto the couch (we were younger for this; an 8-year-old throwing themselves upon you is not so painful compared to a 21-year-old doing this), and from King of the Couch, in which the three of us would struggle to throw the others off the couch (regrettably, my brother and I were often Mayors of Carpetville, as my dad dubbed us in his mocking frenzy upon his ultimate success). Beneath the couch probably lies countless lost treasured items of the household, such as pens, action figures, pennies, popcorn, Cheerios, my childhood hopes and dreams, cat hair, Christmas ornaments– the entire list would astound. It is not a clean couch by any means. I will admit, after all these years–and I fear that it may still be too soon to confess this, but I will boldly continue–that on more than one occasion as a child, there is a possibility that I have wiped boogers on the side of the couch. Judge not!, for it has been well over a decade, and since then I have discovered the beautiful practicality of facial tissues, but those boogers are seared into the history of this despicable, hideous couch.
But to have only one loathsome vehicle for sitting would be sad, by which I mean to say that we have an accompanying love seat to this treacherous couch. The love seat, a smaller version of the couch, looks exactly the same, except the entire thing rocks back and forth, and the left cushion is heavily matted with light blond cat hair because our family pig has made a faithful nest out of the seat, and anyone who challenges this prize-winning wildebeast by sitting in his spot will be rightfully punished by means of his discomforting glare and a pair of pants now liberally covered in cat hair. This love seat also has Cheerios, but many more of them, as the love seat is solely used by my mother (and the pig, as I have mentioned) and she often eats Cheerios while watching the news, and we all know how rogue Cheerios can be atop a full bowl.
And that’s only on the surface! Milk, Kool-Aid, sweat, grease, and drool, all soaked into the couch cushions and dutifully contributing to the couch’s odor. We haven’t had guests over in twenty years from the shame.
My mother loathes the couch. She actively despises their entire institution of Outdated Living Room Furniture that threatens to upheave the very foundations of morality and integrity that home apparel was founded on. Every day for as long as I can remember, my mother has mentioned her hatred for the couches. She has given my father an ultimatum: New couches by week’s end or she will REFUSE to continue researching the genealogy of his family’s ancestors. She has him shaking in his old white Nike dad shoes!
I visited my parents at their house over winter break for a day, and somehow in my excitement for Christmastime sweets I carelessly and over-zealously must have gotten chocolate on the seat cushion. I tried covering it up with a blanket as any rational and thoughtful human would do, but the next morning my mother commented, “Oh no! Someone spilled chocolate on the couch! Now it’s ruined!” Quickly, and as a mature, responsible adult, I shouted, “It was my brother, not me!” (I jest.) Actually, I said, “Sorry, I think it was me.” To which my mother replied, “Oh–no, I’m not upset. These couches are disgusting. Spill some more, and maybe Dad will be motivated to get new couches!” With her blessing, I continued to fervently consume food upon the couches.
And that’s what it came to: Mom encouraging everyone to further ruin the couches in any capacity manageable so that they may reach the point of Dad’s Disgust. See, my father likes to use things to their absolute breaking point. You know how 0 degrees on the Kelvin scale is “absolute zero” and nothing in this universe can be colder than absolute zero? Dad likes to wear things down to 0 degrees Dad: absolute worthlessness. He’s got this alarm clock that precedes the abacus, yet he still uses this alarm clock. Why? Because it’s still going. Every five months he has to give it a good punch to the gut so that it remembers to keep going. Mom even bought him a new one once for Christmas, but he put it away as a backup alarm clock because this one still works. Same goes for his wallet, his shoes, his toothbrush…
So the past ten years have been spent trying to get My Family’s Couch to the point of 0 degrees Dad. Well, folks, I have good news: the day has finally come.
My Family’s Couch, old as time and one of the first wretched rough drafts of an existent object, is gone. They scrapped it, junked it, tossed it, did away with it– and replaced it with a couch younger than the iPhone. I didn’t get to say goodbye to the rotten piece of cushion, but I suppose it’s better this way.
Wow. Truly a monumental moment in my family’s timeline. I’m sure descendants will be reading about the Replacing of the Couch in two hundred years when they’re doing genealogy about us. And on the millionth year, Dad said, “Let there be no more couch.” And it was so.