all of the selves we Have ever been
I thought they were for old people.
More specifically, for grouchy old men.
It was a dad’s chair. Dads became grouchy when other people tried sitting there.
But then I became pregnant with my first child. Anemia, heartburn, and sciatica became the side effects of an average, fist-sized uterus stretching to accommodate a growing 10 pound 2 ounce baby girl. Altogether, it was a recipe for insomnia.
My obstetrician suggested a recliner chair.
But I was only 34. And female. Destined to be a mom, not a dad. The medical science did not compute with the cultural anthropology.
But a pregnant woman needs her rest while she can get it. So it was off to the La-Z-Boy store. We settled on a soft, cloth-covered version of the recliner that came to be known in our home as thebluechair. It was the preferred seat of everyone. If you were ever a guest in our home, you sat there. If you were ever photographed in our home, you were probably sitting in thebluechair. One or both of the children were likely snuggled in beside you. thebluechair was a magnet. Even little children loved thebluechair.
It didn’t hurt that thebluechair was aimed at the TV. This is the arrangement recommended in the set-up guide for all TVs and recliners – they MUST face each other. Your warranties will be voided if you violate this rule. I suggest that if you are having trouble with your TV reception or your comfort that you check your room arrangement BEFORE you contact the retailer.
Television, La-Z-Boys and inertia all grew up together in the 1950s. They have an inextricable bond. If you have things to do, do not, I repeat, DO NOT sit down in a recliner chair. Physics will not be on your side.
I was introduced to the recliner chair in my grandparents’ home and later in the homes of wealthier aunts and uncles. It appeared to be some type of throne. I knew my family had moved up in the world when a recliner chair appeared in our more humble abode.
While it was a grown-up chair, it did serve a child’s imagination. Some days it was a rocket ship. That giant side-lever launched a few of us into space. Other days, in its fully-reclined position with an afghan thrown over it, the chair became a cave. One day, quite unexpectedly, little spelunker-me made a giant discovery. I struck gold! Literally. And I learned something more about physics. The same gravity that glued butts to the seat also forced change out of dad’s pockets and into the mechanical compartment underneath. Ever after, I was happy to volunteer to clean the living room on Saturdays, the day for chores in our family.
Somewhere between striking gold in the cavern of dad’s recliner and purchasing my latest chair, I did some research. Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses liked to spread out on daybeds called “klines.” Later, reclining furniture would be extolled as a health aid. In the La-Z-Boy corporate publication on the history of the recliner, the development of the modern La-Z-Boy in 1928 is described as “a momentous event in relaxation.”
That’s truth-in-advertising. I can confirm that every time a La-Z-Boy has entered my domain, it has been a momentous event in relaxation. My obstetrician may have been old school and studied with Alexander the Great, but he was right about the recliner chair.
It was a sad day in our house when thebluechair finally wore out and went to the curb. Even the children cried, “Oh, no! Not thebluechair!” In our family, the La-Z-Boy is no longer the chair of grouchy old men and laid-back dads. It is the best seat in the house for everyone.