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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Seat of My Discomfort

Last Tuesday, the group I work with moved to a new office. The rest of the week was largely spent pretending to set up all of our machines and equipment, so we could get back to work. In reality, we spent most of our time popping bubble wrap and making faces through the windows at the jerks in the next building. Making friends whereever I go; that’s me, all right. Luckily, the boss is not so technically inclined, so we could always cover our tomfoolery with:

Gee, I’d love to get you that report, ma’am, but the network guys say my adapter needs a new FireWire dongle before I can access the SubEtha network again. Sorry… but wanna drop water balloons on the jerks in the lobby with us?

(Apparently, she doesn’t read Douglas Adams, either. Her loss. And our running ‘Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses’ joke at her expense. Heh.)

But all good jackassery must come to an end, so this week we’re back to work. And it seems I’ve been cursed with that most common of all cubicle-switching cockups — the Funky New Chair.

The guy next to me, he did it right — he ignored the ‘NO OLD CHAIRS’ posted policy, slapped a moving sticker on his raggedy-assed beat-up chair, and left a note on the seat saying:

MOVE THIS CHAIR, PLEASE!!

I have the permission of my boss, your boss, your mother, and whichever god you happen to believe in. MOVE THE CHAIR, AND NO ONE GETS FIRED, SPANKED, OR SMOTE!

So, he’s got his chair from the old place.

“Either I’ve been watching way too many kung fu movies lately, or I’ve got to lay off the pho noodles right before bedtime.”

I tried to convince him that the movers probably did unspeakable things to the armrests involving canola oil and a pair of large Siberian nursemaids, but he’s not buying it. And why would he? He’s got a place to sit that actually fits his ass. They could’ve left a greased-up babushka hanging from the height adjustment knob, and he’d still be happy.

Meanwhile, I’m left to grapple with one of the new ass-contraptions, and it’s no fun whatsoever. It’s not that the chairs aren’t as good as our old ones — frankly, they’re far more solid, with knobs and adjusters and levers galore. But how could a brand new chair approximate the cheekdentions I worked so hard to cultivate in my last one? Where are the crevasses to squinch down into? That rough bare patch on the frame I could use to scritch my back? The broken armrests we used for swordfights? Or the ‘lumbar support’ sac we ripped out and turned into a makeshift whoopee cushion? All gone.

And there’s just no getting comfortable in this high-fangled, new-falutin’ thing. It’s not a chair; it’s a deathtrap! I tried adjusting the armrest, and accidentally punched it into my kidney. The height adjuster slammed me so low, so fast I think I bruised my tailbone. I may need some sort of coccyx sucker to kiss it and make it better.

Of course, that’s nothing compared to what happened when I found the ‘Attitude Adjustment’ knob. I thought it meant ‘attitude’, as in ‘angle of leaning’, or some such thing. But the mechanisms on these chairs are would pretty fricking tight — so when I pulled the knob, the chair lurched forward, and bonked my head on the monitor screen. What if I worked overlooking a balcony — I could’ve been killed!

So now I’m thinking it’s the other kind of ‘attitude’ adjuster. I can almost picture a whip-wielding slavemaster standing behind me now:

Hah! You find attitude adjuster! Now your attitude is ‘Time to quit playing with chair and get back to work!’ Di di mau! DI DI MAU!!

(No, I don’t know why my slavemaster would be a cruel Vietnamese caricature, either. Either I’ve been watching way too many kung fu movies lately, or I’ve got to lay off the pho noodles right before bedtime.)

Needless to say, I’m not thrilled with the new seating equipment. For now, we’ve called a truce — the chair’s agreed not to launch me at any more hardware, and I’ve agreed not to chuck it out an open window. But things aren’t comfortable for either of us. I’ve been stepping and tripping on its rollers all day, and I won’t stop raising and lowering its armrests. It’s got to be sore by now. As for me, my back gets stiff after twenty minutes in the thing, and I haven’t been able to feel my left asscheek since early this afternoon. I’m a little afraid to get up, for fear I’ll bump my snoozing half-a-hiney into cubicles and walls and various cleaning personnel on my way out the door. I’m pretty sure that’s no way to say: ‘Hello! Welcome to the building — we’ll be seeing a lot of each other!‘ Nobody likes to be ass-rubbed when they’re just trying to do their job.

(Okay, maybe a bouncer at a strip joint. Or a Victoria’s Secret photographer. But that’s it.)

I’ll have to see how this saga turns out. Will the chair lead me down a path of back pain and posterior pins and needles? Or will my ass win in the end, imposing its will — and its curvature — on the supple fabric before it has a chance to wreck me first? Only time — and a lot of strategic cheek-squishing — will tell.

Permalink  |  1 Comment



One Response to “The Seat of My Discomfort”

  1. shelley says:

    It’s the cheekdentions I really miss when I get a new chair, really. I’m glad to know the word for the problem, too, so thanks for that. Now I can complain a lot more effectively.

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