All the different chairs we sit in

I have progressed through chairs, stood on chairs, hidden behind chairs, rocked in chairs, and been where I wish I had a chair.

I have sat in desk/chair combinations, library chairs, office chairs, and on a stump in the woods I was pleased to use as a chair.

I’ve been the chair, sat in seminar chairs, peddled an exercycle chair, and lounged in cushy chairs. I have reclined in reclining chairs, sat in old chairs and new chairs, and, for a spell, sat in one of those therapeutic chairs with an on and off switch. I have been in dentists’ chairs, hospital waiting room chairs, and occasionally still sit in a barber’s chair — though with diminishing reason for being there.

My son, Matthew, played first-chair clarinet, my son Jonathan played the piano, so he avoided a chair by using a bench. So far, I’ve avoided a wheelchair, but I’ve been in a teacher’s chair and a witness chair, sat in counsel’s chair, had the perspective of a judge’s chair, and, though I’ve sat in a juror’s chair, I have never served there.

Sometimes, it helps to put yourself in other people’s chairs better to appreciate the frame and fabric that supports them, but it has been written that no one should covet another’s chair. We need to go out, look about, find our own chairs.

If we need to or wish to, we can change chairs or get rid of a chair. If you’re like me, you lug an old chair down to the basement. If you’re like my wife, you have me take it out to the curb, where someone can pick it up and make it their chair.

Not having a chair is to be nowhere.

I have found tranquility in a well-worn chair drawn up to a kitchen table filled with people I loved. Sitting there, consuming pickled bologna, sampling my aunt’s “not a prize winner in the lot” dill pickles, seeking relief from them with saltine crackers — crackers that made possible the consumption of yet another pickle — allowing the flavor of contentment to linger.

Want a simple life? Get a simple chair, one that makes you sit up straight. If you have the need, put a cushion on it. Of course, there are high-status chairs, low-status chairs, big money chairs, and chairs that are, for some reason, considered sacred. If you don’t want a simple chair, get yourself a high-backed chair, one that can best display from where so much importance flows.

Maybe, someday, someone will design a chair we can all be comfortable in, accommodative enough to lift us to the task of getting along. One we can pull up to a communal table to enjoy not only pickled bologna, dill pickles, and crackers, but a fusion menu of culinary, cultural, and religious traditions that honor our diversity.

But what of those chairs occupied by two members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers? The two who recently voted to negate the votes of 300,000 people before swiveling in their chairs 180 degrees from that position.

Now, they want to swivel back again.

I can’t believe they’re having fun. It appears political winds have them spinning where such winds should not be blowing.

It’s all quite disheartening.

We need to open a new jar of pickles, spear another hunk of pickled bologna, adjust our chairs’ cushions, unwrap another line of saltine crackers — and introduce a robust vintage.

Thus fortified, we should set about the task of ensuring our fellow citizens’ chairs are not pushed away from democracy’s festive table — being firm in our resolve that their votes not be diminished or denied.

You and I have too much to lose.

Doug Pugh’s “Vignettes” runs weekly on Saturdays. He can be reached at pughda@gmail.com.


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