Tag Archives: couch

I had a pencil sticking out of my leg

One time when I was like ten or eleven, I remember running around the house, a full sprint through the living room, around the kitchen, back again into the TV room. I was just doing laps, a little kid with way too much energy and nowhere to go, no place to really burn off any steam. On this particular day, my theatrics weren’t getting any attention, nobody yelled at me to stop, or calm down, and so after a while it got kind of boring, like a flame deprived of oxygen, without managing to get a reaction out of anybody, I slowly burned myself out.


But not before going out with a bang, my cooped up, ten or eleven year old version of a stuck-inside-the-house grand finale. I climbed up onto the arm of the sofa, jumped into the air, and tucked my legs under my arms, hoping to land like a cannonball onto the couch cushions.

Only, as soon as I hit the furniture, I felt something sharp, stabbing me in the leg. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, really. I’m the oldest of six, and back when we were all younger, a house jam-packed with little kids, there was just stuff everywhere, little pieces of toys, crayons. This time there happened to be a pencil stuck in between the couch cushions. How it got like that, positioned so that the point was sticking straight up, I have no idea.

But that’s how it was, like a spike, my right leg landing directly on top with all my body’s weight to really drive it in. I looked at my leg, I couldn’t even react, not really. It was such a weird sight. The pencil had to have been at least an inch and a half deep inside my shin. You couldn’t see the point, or any of the wood, just the yellow back end protruding from my leg.

My little sister Emily was like four or five years old, and she was the only one close enough to actually see the whole impaling go down. But she was a little kid, and while I appreciated her look of shock, this was a much bigger deal that just that, worthy of a lot more attention, the kind of attention I was constantly craving, my need for spectacle the driving force behind most of my actions, my running around the house, my indoor acrobatics.

My mom wasn’t in the house. She was there just a second ago, but now I couldn’t find her. I needed her to see this. I ran outside of the house and down the driveway, but no luck. After a minute or so, I looked down at my leg. For the first time, I was starting to freak out a little, the gravity of the situation sunk in somewhat, that I had a pencil in my leg. I reached down and yanked it out.

And it just slid right out, easily. It bled, but not that badly. In fact, looking at the wound from the outside, you couldn’t really tell that a whole pencil had been lodged inside just a second earlier. I deflated a little, like maybe I should have kept it in there a while longer.

When I went back inside, my mom was back in the kitchen. “Mom, where were you! I just stabbed myself with a pencil. It was in really deep! Mom, look, it’s bleeding! Mom! Mom!” And she looked at it, but like I said, the after shot didn’t really do any justice to how severe this thing looked when it was still sticking out of my leg.

“Yeah?” she asked, “Well, it doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll be OK.” But she didn’t get it. Nobody got it. Nobody except for my little sister Emily, but she was way too little to have any sort of a significant testimony. I had wasted it, a golden opportunity to make use of what looked like a potentially serious injury, without any real danger or lasting damage.

Because, for real, why didn’t it bleed? I swear I’m not exaggerating, that thing was in deep. Shouldn’t it have hit something? Wouldn’t you have expected a lot more pain?

My only consolation is that, after all these years, my sister Emily still claims to remember exactly how the situation played out, my dramatic leap onto the couch, the heart-stopping realization that there was a pencil stuck deep inside of my leg. And so it’s nice to have some sort of confirmation that I hadn’t just made it all up. I think so. I hope so. I mean, she was really little. Part of me wonders if I hadn’t coerced the memory onto her by sheer force of will. I just wish that everybody could have seen it. I wish that everybody could have been paying attention to me.

New furniture

I’d been meaning to get a new couch for a while now. Not that there was anything necessarily wrong with my old couch. It was perfectly comfortable. But it’s been through a lot, a few moves, more than a fair share of spills and accidents. My dog came of age with this couch, meaning that a couple of times I’d walk into living room only to find that he’d torn open the fabric and strewn all of the stuffing across the floor.

I did my best to collect all of that cotton and put it back in the cushion, to sew it all up. And it was fine, from a practical standpoint, it was usable. But the lines from my repair job were an eyesore. Also, it used to have an electric chord that would make it vibrate, there was a seat heater I think. I never got to use any of those features because my dog chewed through the wires almost immediately after I got it.

So I made up my mind that it was time for something else. Only, making that decision is a lot different than actually executing a plan, picking out a couch, figuring out how you’re going to pay for that couch, how to get if from the furniture store to my living room. And what was I supposed to do about the old couch? Is it one of those things where I just have to drag it to the curb and wait for it to disappear?

I figured that before I just tossed the couch outside, it wouldn’t hurt to see if I couldn’t make a little money. It had to be worth something. I mean, yeah, it looked kind of beat up, but it was comfortable. It was clean. Maybe a hundred bucks? I took a photo and put it on craigslist for a hundred and fifty, hoping they’d try to bargain me down to a hundred.

I’d act out a little bit of reservation, “Jeez, I don’t know …” making all of these pained facial expressions before I’d cave, “All right … I guess I could do a hundred.” And then I thought, man, maybe I should have put two hundred and have them bargain me down to one fifty. But the ad was already posted, and someone emailed me back immediately.

It was two guys that had just moved to the neighborhood, they stopped by later in the afternoon to check it out. “We’ll take it,” they told me after patting it, sitting on it, bouncing up and down a little. That was way too easy, almost no negotiation involved at all, I totally should have at least tried for two hundred.

But a deal was a deal and they had the couch out of my place by evening. Wow, I thought, that was so easy. I basically went from being overwhelmed with having no idea as to how I’d go about starting this process to standing right here in my living room, no couch at all. This place looked a lot bigger with no furniture, and dusty, I guess I should try and use the Swiffer over this way every once in a while.

Then I wanted to watch some TV before going to bed, but without a couch, I tried using one of the kitchen chairs, a hard-backed solid wood piece. It was so uncomfortable. I gave up after half an hour or so, telling myself I’d watch on the laptop in my bedroom, but I fell asleep as soon as I hit the mattress.

The next day I had to work, so I couldn’t go couch shopping, and it was the same deal the day after that. Finally I had a day off and I went to the furniture store, everything was like a thousand dollars, fifteen hundred dollars. Sure, they had some stuff for a lot cheaper, but everything felt not right, like if I had spent four hundred dollars on a basic model, it would have been a downgrade from what I was using before, albeit a brand new downgrade.

I turned to craigslist, and after weeks of nothing, I found an ad for my old couch. I called up the guys, they said they liked it, but it wasn’t really meshing with their apartment. I told them I’d be glad to take it back, but they wouldn’t budge from the advertised two hundred dollar price tag. I met with them for like an hour, my best defense amounting to me standing around saying, “Really? Come on. Seriously? Two hundred? Come on.” But they were good, I caved. I paid up.

After I handed them the cash, I was like, “Can one of you guys help me carry this thing outside?” And they were like, “Yeah, man, we’ll help you get this back to your old place if you want also, we’ve got a truck. What do you think, twenty-five bucks sound good to you?” And I didn’t know what to do, they got me again, I thought about saying, “Really? For real?” again, but whatever, I just wanted to watch some TV, so I took out thirty dollars. Neither of them had a five to give me change.