Not every day is a good day to ask my chair a question. There are times when it just doesn’t want to talk and so I have to be patient about getting any response. However, some questions pique the vanity of the chair and they are much more likely to provoke a response.

“I am very curious about your having been able to survive so long and in such good condition? I haven’t seen many sets of chairs do this so well. You have almost all your original glue blocks and corner blocks to the knees. This is extremely rare.”

“Why thank you, I, that is we, have survived so well because we have been cared for and properly looked after. Almost anything that is made well will survive a long time as long as that is true.”

“Except for things with moving parts,” I enjoined.

“That is a limitation without doubt. How many cars I have known that have been cared for but which die nonetheless. Buildings, on the other hand, can last forever. Look at those pyramids.”

“Dryness must help,” I observed.

“Yes, water is the great leveler. It brings with it all kinds of decay and rot that will ultimately bring down the grandest of edifices.”

“But you,” I asked, “why have you, in particular, survived in such a good state?”

“There are three things,” my chair responded. “Great mahogany, and you must know that not all mahoganies are equal, and superb craftsmanship. Throw in the fact that my maker understood well enough to dry the mahogany for seven years before working it and you have an almost unbeatable combination of factors that contribute to longevity.”

“What about the way you have been used?”

“It helps to be used sparingly, but what is more important is that any looseness of the joints should be seen to immediately. I would estimate that I have been sat on at least 45,000 times in my 275 years and I am just as solid now as I was when I was first built. I know some of my siblings have been re-glued, but I have not. Sturdier character, I suppose. But imagine, 45,000 sittings, from wiggly little children who will tip the chair both back and forwards, to lumps who lean against the back splat as they would in an easy chair. That’s a severe strain, I can tell you.”

“I bet. But you have also been bought and sold and transported here and there. Hasn’t that been stressful?”

“Not if you use the right mover. I have always been wrapped in blankets.”

“That’s why you have survived?”

“No, not really, because the third reason why I have survived is due to the passion people have for me, those people that understand just how rare and wonderful I am. I am living history after all and I happen to be beautiful. You don’t get combinations like that very often.”

Vanity notwithstanding, my chair had a good point.


“You missed the event of the year, as far as I am concerned,” my chair said to me the moment I walked into my gallery.

“What was that?” I asked, knowing what the chair would probably say.

“Clint Eastwood talked to a cousin of mine at the Republican National Convention. Prime time! Talking to a chair! Our status as people is looking better than it has in a long time.”

“I don’t think so. I heard about the speech. Eastwood was talking to an empty chair, intimating that the president was sitting there and that they were having a conversation. Frankly, as you and I both know, not many people converse with chairs and certainly not on television during a political convention. And, I might add, nobody but nobody thinks of chairs as people.”

“Well, Clint Eastwood sure made it look that way. Those of us that are chairs were talking about it non-stop. I mean, the man is an icon! He is cooler than cool. Or is awesome the better word?”

“Yes,” I agreed, “but I think he probably lifted the idea of talking to an empty chair from somewhere else, possibly even from us, who knows?”

“You mean he might have read your blog?”

“Perhaps, but I don’t think the idea is all that original, do you?”

“I am certainly the first talking chair you have ever met.”

“Yes, but what you want to talk about isn’t what I want to talk about. I want to talk about history and about who owned you and where you have been. You are more interested in having chairs looked upon as people. A more quixotic undertaking is hard to imagine.”

“Let’s get something straight here,” my chair intoned, “you are just a cipher. You get to write my words, I get to speak them.”

“A tad grumpy are we,” I asked? “Jealous of your cousin perhaps?”

“Well, he is rather awkward. Metal legs, plywood, a bunch of screws and glue so potent that if you sniffed it, your brain would wonder if it was under attack and your nervous system would be counting out how many more minutes it could sustain itself without completely short circuiting. Nothing natural there at all.”

“You are jealous.”

“Clint Eastwood’s taste in chairs could be better.”

“You mean, he could have used you?” I suggested.

“I am all natural, I am green and I am beautiful. What else could you want?”

“I agree,” I said, “but perhaps you are just too much for Clint to handle. He wouldn’t want you talking back at him while he was trying to make his point. It might have been a little awkward.”

“Dirty Harry,” the chair sighed, “you are such a disappointment.”