Appropos of Nothing Story

(Or, Why I Should've Had a Blog in 2002)

And NOW!



The notice came in the mail about 24 days after it first began sitting on the curb.

It was once my Grandma’s couch. Hell, people who weren’t even alive anymore had spent nights nestled among its vaguely comfortable splattering of brown flora. Eventually it had made its way to my house, after the dividing up of the stuff.

I needed a couch, and it had served well. But then, a jobless person had come to visit. For weeks and weeks. A fellow who, while he was likable enough, was a world-class sofa spud. And through a steady diet of time-devouring video games and TV westerns, his stationary ass had dented the poor old thing beyond hope or repair. Thus, it was kicked to the proverbial curb.

One afternoon, my friend and I were nearly to the car when a couple of power walking neighbors happened by. “You know, you can call for pickup on bulk trash,” they told her. “Yeah, Thursdays before 5:00 p.m.” That means they’re tired of looking at it, I thought. Still, it sat there for a few more days.

Everyone in the house thought someone else had taken care of making the call.
No one did.

Then, we got the notice. “This is to inform you of city ordinance 58739 regarding discarded items sitting in residential areas for extended periods of time…” -- and such, until we got to the last paragraph – “This notice is being sent because of a complaint received by the sanitation department.”

Hmm. So the neighbors had phoned us in. But we’d never know who.
Strangely, that couch didn’t seem so discardable anymore.

The next morning, we mounted a crusade. By God, that couch wasn’t trash. It was our lawn furniture. We could ignore it no longer. Our God-given right to freedom of furnishings was at stake.

It began simply. Lots of upwardly mobile people trying to keep fit in our neighborhood made it easy. Perched atop the soggy couch (which had been rained on maybe six times by then) we greeted them with the morning paper and steaming cups of coffee, saying, “MORNING NEIGHBOR!” in loudly gleeful voices as they walked or ran by. We waved. We sipped. We smiled at their leashless little dogs, too.

The next week, we posted signs.


‘Course, the phrase “YOU SNOTTY MOTHERFUCKS” was scrawled on the back, but none of the neighbors could guess.

Two weeks from Christmas, we were thinking and planning on how that couch could go on irritating our snitchtastic neighbors for the long term. How could the beige, broken down symbol of the most middle-priced furniture money could buy live in infamy? Like Christmas itself the idea came, circled round with bright stars and touches of magic. It would become a holiday decoration.

To capture the very essence of its tackiness on our front lawn, we began to adorn it. The once brown/orange hued clusters of flowers were forever painted over, becoming just red/green sparkly clusters. Tinsel twined and glittered about it and tiny multicolored lights, seemingly stolen from an inexpensive Tex-Mex restaurant, bedecked it. Still, it wasn’t enough. If Martha Herself didn’t flee from it in terror, what power would it hold against our property-value obsessed neighbors?

So, with the same reverence and glory given to Christmas Eve’s morning star, we placed a life-sized Santa upon it, cradling none other than the indisputable star of the season, Baby Jesus, in his arms. Only such a crass mingling of the secular and religious centers of attention would be sufficient to fully offend our neighbors’ sensibilities. As a final touch, we added two parchment scrolls astride Santa, the lists titled “Good” and “Bad.” Atop the good? Baby Jesus, of course. The Bad were headed up by the identity-shrouded collective “Northview Neighbors.”

Sure, it takes up a lot of room in the garage, near the other boxes of decorative stuff. But nothing can replace the sheer bliss it adds to every December. Happy Fucking Tacky Holidays, neighbors. As perennial as the season itself, the couch lives on.

January 2002

(Any resemblance to actual Grandma couches or events is entirely, decidedly true. Maybe.)


"If you're not against me, then don't cross this line."
-- Steve Zissou


Trevor Record said…
Oh my god, are you serious? Did you actually do this? You are my goddamn hero.
Yep, that's a grandma's couch alright.
Ari said…
Umm, about 30% of this story is true, Trevor. I'll let you decide which 30% that is. So I guess maybe I can be 30% your goddamn hero. I did think UP the other 70% of it though, but I don't know if that amounts to beans in the Goddamn Hero Selection Process.

An actual photo of my grandma's couch was no longer available, LBB. But this photo is of a reasonably horrid facsimile.
Julie said…
I like that couch in the picture!

What a groovy story!
I like pissing of the bastard neighbors!
Especially in creative and tacky ways! very cool!
Dave Morris said…
I could SO take a freaking monster-nap on that thing.

word verification - fawkltyg, which I found funny, yet I'm not sure why. Maybe because I say "fawk" all the time.
Ari said…
Yep, Jules, I'm way cooler in the realm of my own mind than in any external realm. :)

Hmm, Dave... it's a rainy, sleepy, Sunday. Maybe I should go find my current awful couch right now. Fawk yeah.... ::yawwwn::
Azathoth said…
HAHAHAHA! I love it. the only other thing left to do is one day sneak it onto someone elses front lawn and they deny that it is yours forcing them to deal with it.

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