Specifically, weak ones. I mean, there is some sort of cartoon moral lesson in the back of our brains that when a chair breaks out from under you, you are too fat. I am sure thin people have broken rickety chairs, too, but at least someone who is a mere 120 pounds can say, "That chair was busted!" When you are over 300lbs, there is an unwritten rule of thumb that states you can't blame the chair anymore. I once was talking to a guy at a party who had his leg in a soft cast. "How did that happen?" I asked. "I was leaning back in a chair, and it broke from under me. One of the broken chair legs came up and stabbed me deep in the back of my thigh. I have had two surgeries already on it so far, and they will be doing another reconstructive job in a few months." That man was maybe 170 pounds, and a lot of that was bone mass because he was at least 6' 2". Maybe 10 lbs less without the cast. Oddly enough, most fat people don't fear this as much as the actual act of breaking a chair itself from their sheer weight. Especially in front of others.
Well, two days ago, it happened to me. My office chair in my den, which has been giving us problems since the day we bought it, broke from under me. Now, unlike a wooden chair, office chairs are usually a seat on a spindle that is carried down to an array of casters. The caster array had been giving me problems before, mostly rocking back and forth, even though I had tightened the bolts many times before. But this time, quite unexpectedly while I was rising out of it to adjust my seating position, the spindle snapped through the caster array, and dropped me like a pile driver onto my concrete floor. Then it slowly tilted back until I was lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, my heart racing from the bad scare. My headphones that were playing some techno music had fallen off my head, and as I lay there in shock, the only sounds I heard were the fans of my computers, and the tinny sound of a dance remix of Helen Reddy's song, "I am Woman" coming from the headphones on the floor.
Actually, at first it was more shock than pain. I rolled out of the chair, and stood up, surveying this strange behavior from a chair that up until now, just seemed stubborn and obstinate at attempts to tighten bolts. Then I saw the floor.
I had punctured the concrete about 1/4 inch deep. Right through the linoleum into hard concrete. It looked like the starting hole for a jackhammer. Holy crap. Bits of concrete were scattered around like a microcrater. I stood there for a while before I decided I had to patch this hole. But how? I mean, I could have peeled back the linoleum and got a concrete patch compound. But in the end, I just put in back most of the rubble, packed it down with a hammer, and covered the hole with duct tape. I sort of fixed the chair, too. I bent back the restraining ring, and got it is so the caster array supports the spindle, but it's a lost cause. I need a new chair.
By this time I was aware my back hurt. By that night, my back REALLY hurt, so I took some painkillers, and tried to go to sleep. That wasn't happening. By 4:00am, I figured, "Hell with this, I am taking the heavy meds." I called my boss, left him voicemail I wasn't coming in, took muscle relaxers, and tried to sleep the rest of the day. I got as far as 8am.
'YAP YAP YAP YAP WOOF WOOF YAP WOOF YAPYAPYAP... WOOF!!!" go my dogs about every 20 minutes, alerting me that someone was daring to use the public sidewalk in front of my house. The "YAP" is Widget, and the "WOOF" is Ahfu, who is really barking at Widget to get him to shut up (Widget is his dog, you see). This is what they are saying:
Widget: OH MY GOD, A PERSON! MIGHT BE DANGEROUS! LOOK OUT LOOK OUT!!
Ahfu: A PERSON A PERSON! Okay. Gone now. We showed them!
Widget: A PERSON!!!!! LOOK OUT LOOK OUT!! KILL THEM!!! GRRRRR!!! I AM STUDLY!!!!
Ahfu: I get it. A person. They left, see?
Widget: A PERSON!! MIGHT BE DANGEROUS! LOOK OUT LOOK OUT!! AAAAUGH!
Ahfu: Shut up, will you?
Widget: DIDN'T YOU SEE THERE WAS A PERSON?! THEY MIGHT STILL BE THERE! THEY MIGHT COME BACK!!
Ahfu: Oh, for the love of God, go back to sleep!
Widget: WHY DOESN'T ANYONE TAKE ME SERIOUSLY???
Ahfu: Shut up!!!
Sometimes, when Widget gets too excited, Ahfu tries to physically shut him up by jumping on him and chewing on his head. This causes a lot of growling, squeaking, and whimpering. This was happening a lot, and so, I didn't get much sleep.
I feel better now, though. Christine was nice enough to get me a heating pad, plug it in, and put it on my back when I was alseep. This helped heal me pretty quickly, but I still am burning from embarrassment over this.
"But Punkie," said a friend of mine once, "at least this will keep you off a Segway!"*
Yeah, yeah it will.
*Segway's limit is 250 lbs
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000261.html