Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day! Love, your Recliner

My father's relationship with his recliner has always been intimate. For as far back as I can remember, we always had a recliner and it was never occupied by anyone but my father. Well, I shouldn't say never: When I had my wisdom teeth out and was woozy from the anesthesia, when I was sick and he wasn't home, and on other such joyous occasions for me, I was allowed to sit in the recliner. For me, the association between sitting in the recliner and feeling like absolute death was so potent that even when I felt fine and snuck a seating session, I started to feel mildly crappy within 5 minutes of sitting down.

My father, however, slept in that thing. Every night around 9pm, we would be gathered in the family room watching TV and I would notice a light snoring. Post-popcorn & soda snack and fully reclined, he would drift into a light sleep that lasted until he had to get up just to go to bed around 11:30pm. The recliner really had a hold on him, and sometimes he was very difficult to wake up. At first, my mother was in charge of this, but as it grew increasingly difficult, she gave up and appointed Sparki. Sparki, however, was easily influenced by The Popcorn Man, as I'm certain he must have thought of my dad. The two of them would sleep in the recliner until about 3am when Sparki could contain his urge to go outside no longer. My father, awakened by the Sparki shuffle, grumbled, took him out, and went to bed. This was their habit for a good eight years while I was in high school and college.

I keep referring to The Recliner as if it's a singular recliner, but I witnessed a string of about 4 recliners over the past 27 years of my life. Recliners, of course, have a finite lifespan, and in human years, my father's recliners were quite old by the time he dumped them. His last recliner (now he has multiple reclining sections in their new leather couch), was passed on to Jess and me.

Naturally, for the past 3 years with this thing, the time when it saw the most action were when my mom and dad would visit. My dad would resume his rightful position in the chair and ask us if we wanted him to make some popcorn (which usually meant "can you make me some popcorn?"). Then we'd put on a movie, usually a lively action movie at top volume, and he would promptly fall asleep. When my parents weren't visiting and it was just us newlyweds, Jess and I sat on the couch as the recliner stared back at us, unfulfilled. Jess avoided it because she wanted to sit with me. I wanted to sit with her too, but it was really out of habit and fear of impending nausea that I avoided it.

And so, after over a year of feeling uncomfortable sharing the living room with the recliner and intensely disliking the way it jutted out into the middle of the room the way it did, I decided to sell it on Craigslist. Perhaps this wasn't the best way to honor my father (and his relationship with The Recliner) on father's day. It felt akin to visiting Canada for Independence Day. So, as the buyer and her muscular friend took it out of our apartment (awkwardly and with much grunting), I played a mental taps for its final send off. I only hope it brings its new owner as much popcorn-related joy and good sleep as it did my father. Of course, with less nausea for anyone else in the house.


  1. Hey, was that a shot at me, the lady who actually DID go to Canada for Independence day one year? It was one of my favorite family trips, btw. Good story, though.