Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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The history of the chair

In ancient times when ancient man wanted to rest his legs, weary from chasing some sort of delicious game or running from some sort of predator who thought HE was delicious game, or searching for fire or whatnot, he just sat on the dirt. He would find a nice patch of soft dirt, mud if it could be located, settle down into it, and have a good rest. Then when he would return to his ancient home ancient woman would give him a disapproving look and say "Where have you been all this time? Where's my bison meat? And oh my pantheistic deity your bottom is simply COVERED in dirt." Ancient man would beam, proud that his beautiful bride had noticed the wonderful coating of filth that he'd managed to grind in to his hairy ancient ass. Ancient women was having none of it, though, and she sent him out to the river to wash up or no ancient nookie that night. Then she demanded that he bring some big rocks in to the cave so that they could sit up off the ground and keep their bottoms nice and clean. Ancient man sighed and did as he was told, not understanding what, exactly, Ancient Woman's grudge against something as glorious as dirt was, but knowing better than to argue. Back then ancient man's brain was not much larger than a peanut, but even he know that arguing with ancient woman was a losing cause, somewhat akin to hunting a woolly Mammoth with nothing but an icicle and dumb ambition.

A few thousand years went by while ancient man sat on his big hard rock and his ass slowly flattened out to the pitiful thing that hangs forlornly from his back today. Ancient woman, meanwhile, realized after about twenty seconds that sitting on rocks was stupid and she constantly found reasons to stay on her feet and off that cold hard, occasionally sharp, seat. Because of this woman's bottom remained round and shapely, and thus was developed the natural order of domestic work, with ancient woman handling most of the home chores while ancient man sat forlorn and uncomfortable on his rock and watched, occasionally trying to help and being informed that he had the housekeeping skills of a rabid hippopotamus (to give ancient woman her due, she was not far off with this comparison.)

At the end of this period ancient woman decided that she, too, would like to sit, and told now medieval man to learn how to build a chair out of wood, a substance that was possible to keep clean and in good shape but that had a little bit of give to it. Medieval man went out and pondered how to set about doing this. First he came up with the idea of felling a tree and bringing it into their little hut, but not only was the tree far too large to fit inside such a humble lodging, but it was round and covered with rough bark and branches. This would not do. Medieval man next tried dragging in a stump, but the roots carried with them clots of dirt, which entirely eliminated the reasoning behind having chairs in the first place.

Medieval man was confused and bedeviled by this problem. He went forth to find the village wise man so he might get an answer to this difficult quandary. As usual he gave up searching after about 2 minutes and headed to the tavern where he proceeded to down copious amounts of beers while whining to his friends about medieval woman and sitting on a nice pointy rock, like a person.

On his way home from the tavern, so drunk that he could barely count to four (while sober he had a decent shot of getting to seven) he stumbled upon detailed instructions for how to build a chair out of wood. He thanked God for this great bounty (ancient woman got bored and drew them up in her spare time) and set about following them, while still completely smashed. Seven tries and four fingers later he had the first wooden chair.

This worked for the next, oh, thousand years or so, but eventually as we entered the modern era it came to pass that fewer and fewer men were living near sources of wood, and whats more there began to be a greater need for men to take care of their fingers (especially those driving in New York City or Los Angeles, as they desperately need to maintain an odd number of fingers so they can make appropriate hand signals.) Thus the mass-produced chair was introduced. This was much better than the wooden chair for a variety of reasons, most of them revolving around not having to pick splinters out of your ass or having rodents live in the furniture. For a while the mass-produced chair was something you'd buy at a store, drive home in your nice mass-produced car, and cover in beautiful plastic to keep it spic and span.

Something was missing from this process though. The manly thrill of providing something for your family. Sure you worked for the money that bought the chair, but once your wife got her hands on your paycheck it wasn't yours anymore than your free time or your choice in clothes was really "yours."

To combat this lack came the invention of the chair in a box. This ingenious contraption allows you all the convenience of a manufactured chair without having to worry that it will be too easy to assemble. You get to buy it, lug it home, and unpack a bunch of random looking pieces. "There, I think that's supposed to be the back." You'll say. "No wait, that's one of the wheels."

You won't be confused for long, since each of these chairs comes equipped with a wonderful little instruction sheet that's about as big as a postage stamp and conveniently located between layers of cardboard in the box. You pull that baby out and you're on your way! If you're lucky it's got a few tiny illustrations with some Mandarin Chinese. If you're unlucky it's in binary, just a bunch of numbers. If you're really unlucky it's on fire. Armed with this sheet you set about assembling your prized possession, stopping to say things like "HEY! It's not supposed to have three armrests" or "Okay, we have to take it apart, we forgot to insert the microscopic widget from step 47." You get to use fancy tools like a screwdriver, and call up exotic call centers in India where Raghib will laugh at your claims that this chair was, in fact, made by the Antichrist for the express purpose of torturing you and NO THE WHEELS DO NOT JUST POP IN, I'VE TRIED IT OVER AND OVER. YOU WANT ME TO EXERT MORE PRESSURE? FINE! I'LL EXERT MORE PRESSURE, after which the wheels, of course, pop in and you are left with choosing whether to claim the chair is faulty and demand a replacement just on principle or hang up on Raghib and hope he entered your personal information wrong.

Finally at the end of this process you have something resembling a chair, and you get to sit in it with much delight. It's only taken you 11 hours and two "false alarm" heart attacks and your wife is WRONG about those screws, they're just extras, in case. The chair will last two weeks, at which point it will collapse under you and you get to head out and buy a new one. Thus you never stop feeling like a provider.

Of course some will argue that there's another way, a better way. In-store assembly for only $5! It doesn't note on the sign that with that $5 you must also hand over your manhood. Stores with in-store assembly specifically keep five year old girlscouts on staff to do the assembly in front of you, taking approximately 15 seconds and leaving no spare parts behind whatsoever, while somehow consistently managing to come up with exactly TWO armrests. They also have, on staff, several beautiful women just your age who will stroll over to gawk as the 3 year old girl assembles your chair, calmly snips off your scrotum, and walks away with your balls. Worst $5 you'll ever spend.

No, the way to go about it is to build the chair yourself, enjoy your two weeks of comfort, and then when it collapses and your butt bounces down on the ground you can look up with a sense of pride and know that, just like your ancestor before you, you've got a filthy ass.
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