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The recliner wars

Rick Ryckeley's picture

With the election finally behind us, you’d think all the tension in our household would finally have subsided. No more arguments about who’s right and who’s wrong.
Unfortunately all is not peaceful in our normally peaceful corner of the world. Now there’s a far bigger battle on the horizon. And ground zero? It’s the middle of our living room. And in any battle there’s a winner and a loser. Guess which one I am.

For years now, I’ve been recliner-less, but it’s really not my fault. It’s The Boy’s fault. (If you’re wondering, yes, it’s good to have The Boy to blame things on.) Three years ago, I gave up my overstuffed recliner as his housewarming gift — big mistake.

Three months later, he got a girlfriend. Yep, you guessed it. She didn’t like it. Within a month, the recliner was gone. Six months later so was she.

It took almost four years, but The Wife has finally agreed. I can get another one – kinda. She had certain requirements.

First, there would be no big, ugly, brown recliner in the center of the room like an island unto itself. Instead, the recliner had to be placed in a corner and couldn’t look like a recliner.

She showed me pictures of fancy wingback chairs with wooden legs that looked like eagle claws gripping balls. And she showed me fabric samples. Brown leather, or any leather for that matter, was nowhere to be found. After all, the new addition to our living room just had to match our current furniture — and the drapes.
I was thrilled.

Second, there would be no hidden drawers in the arms of the chair or any cup holders. After all, it’s a piece of fine furniture, not the front seat of a car. Also, no extension cords would wind their way across the floor with throw rugs on top to camouflage. This meant no push buttons.

My last recliner had push buttons. It came fully equipped with controls for effortless reclining, heating, and massaging.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. No worries. If the power goes out, one quick pull on the huge wooden lever located on either side would propel the occupant up and out of the chair safely.

However, the fancy new wingback has no wooden handle. In fact, it has no handle at all. To recline, you simply push back on the arms and hope the flimsy thing doesn’t break, topple over and dump the disgruntled occupant out onto the floor. No push buttons, no heat, no massaging.

Yep, this is gonna work out just fine.

If all that’s not bad enough, this weekend we have to spend hours wandering through showrooms, looking at fabric samples, sitting in chairs that fit her but not me, and arguing about money.

That’s right; the new recliner that doesn’t look like a recliner and doesn’t fit me costs about twice as much as one that does.

Did I mention I’m thrilled? Wonder if The Boy can make up with his ex-girlfriend — at least long enough to get my old recliner back.

Now that Friday’s here, it’s finally time to put my foot down before it’s too late. In fact, I’m putting both feet down. No fancy wingback, eagle-legged recliner for me. No, Dear Reader, I decline to recline.

Frustrated, The Wife asked, “So what are you going to do sitting in a big, ugly, brown recliner anyway? You don’t watch basketball. You don’t watch baseball. You don’t even watch football.”

I smiled and replied, “Well, now that the election’s over with, I’m gonna watch Project Runway, of course.”

Big, ugly, brown recliner gets delivered next week.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, is in his third decade as a firefighter and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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