The Indignity of It All

By John-Paul Marciano

I’ve been sitting in chairs for 60-plus years and never once have they failed me–until now.

Most standard chairs offer a weight capacity of 800 pounds but that’s a static rating for weight that doesn’t move. Static weight doesn’t take into account someone who adjusts to get comfortable or just can’t sit still.  It also doesn’t take into consideration someone leaning on the back two legs.  Now we have what is called dynamic weight.  That drops to 350 pounds or less.  Commercial chairs used in restaurants offer a weight capacity of 1000 pounds.  But again that’s static weight.

As far back as we can remember there have been chairs–wooden, upholstered, arm, beach, wrought iron, plastic, lounges, beanbags, rocking, swivel, folding and reclining chairs–more types  than I care to remember.  You sit in one and the chair does what it’s supposed to do.  You relax, watch TV, read the paper or a book or talk to your spouse or a friend. Ninety-nine per cent of the time chairs do what they were made to do.

Now visualize my wife and I celebrating our anniversary. We go to a nice restaurant.  The setting is terrific, overlooking a lake surrounded by mountains. It’s quiet except for the muted conversations and the chirping birds.

The hostess takes us to our table, leaves the wine and dinner menus, and says, “Enjoy your meal.”  Ever the gentleman, I slide the chair out for my wife and as she takes her seat I think to myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Without giving it a thought I walk around to my chair.  I’ve got 99- per-cent-reliability on my side.  I start to say something to my wife.  I never complete the sentence.  As soon as my buttocks hit the chair it collapses out from under me.

If I were alone with my wife I’d probably have a good laugh and a few choice words for the chair.  But I have 50 sets of eyes focused on me, me without a rock to crawl under.  Oh yeah . . . I weigh a dynamic 320 pounds.

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