It was 1974, and I don't know what frightened me more: Archie Bunker or his chair.
Age five. Footie pajamas. Had yet to start kindergarten. And still, I knew enough to be absolutely horrified by Archie's boorish behavior.
I was even more revolted by his hideous easy chair.
Some kind of nappy, nasty, dirty, ol' brown, material - look up "fugly" in the dictionary, and you'll see that gawd-awful chair. Stinky lookin' thing, too. You could practically smell it through the TV.
That chair was Archie's throne, the perch from which he ruled poor Edith with his acid tongue. She rarely spoke up to him - or kicked his ass, which so richly deserved a kicking...
"Edith, get me a beer, huh?"
And off she shuffled, as fast as one can shuffle in a house-dress...waiting on that old coot Archie hand and foot.
Sensing my disgust, Mom had an insight for me:
"See? This is what happens when girls don't get an education. They end up with Archies," she said.
A smart cookie, is Mom.
Well, there was no way I was ending up with Archie. Or his chair. So you can be damn sure I got an education.
And Mom was right: I did not end up with an Archie. I ended up with a loving, wonderful, modern man. A guy so swell that he was voted "Mr. Beaver Local 1985" by his Ohio high school classmates. The dude is obviously best in show.
I mean, everyone wants to be Mr. Beaver Local.
Imagine my shock, then, when this came out of his mouth:
"You know what I've always wanted? A recliner. I could just lay back, put my feet up and watch TV. Ahhhh," he said.
"But...but...I went to college!" I said.
"Huh?" he said.
"Never-mind," I said.
My mind reeled. How could this be? My modern, chore-sharing Mr. Wonderful-Freakin'-Beaver-Local wanted a man-throne?
If he got this easy chair, would he morph into an Archie? Would I have a chauvinistic cad on my hands? Would I have to quit my job, don a house-dress, fetch him beers?
Most importantly, if he's camped out in this recliner,who would fetch MY beers?
Worse yet, THOSE CHAIRS! Three decades haven't done much to improve the looks of easy chairs. Big, bulky - if they're truly comfortable, they're hideous and usually resemble the Michelin man copping a squat.
I tried to put the husband's Recliner Revelation out of my mind. I didn't think it would be an issue. I have no problem ignoring his needs.
Then came the awful day. The day I realized that this year is our 15th wedding anniversary, I had better get him something special, and for once, he'd given me an idea for a present. This is not usually the case.
"Oh, you're all I need, honey. Don't get me anything," is the B.S. I usually get when I ask him for gift ideas.
Actually, he has other, unprintable suggestions for what I can "gift" him. He's a funny guy, that one. And again - I have no problem ignoring his needs.
But I realized I had no choice. For once, he may have dropped an actual hint for our big milestone anniversary, which also falls on the same day as his birthday.
Hence, I commenced shopping for Mr. Beaver Local 1985's throne. This was not easy. How can something so hideous be so expensive? I've had cars that cost less than this. And so huge! Where would we put such a behemoth?
Much online clicking, here and there, ensued. La-Z-Boy.com, Sears.com, Overstock.com, Amazon.com...ugly, ugly, expensive and fugly.
And then I found it. At JCPenney.com. Red. Comfy. And not-too-heinous-looking!
Best of all, girlfriends? Vibrating massage! For realz, ya'all! A little something for the ladies. Word.
So honey? You don't know it yet, but your chair is on its way. All I ask is a chance to sit in it, too. For an hour or three...
Oh, and Archie? Get me a beer, huh?
And a cigarette.