Friday, April 18, 2008


Have you ever wondered why the chairs we use are the shape with which we’re familiar? I mean, there have been strange fads of bean bag chairs and those round bamboo things. Some people sit on stools. There are benches and bleachers. A while back there were chairs on which you were supposed to kneel, but I could never figure them out. Most of our chairs, though, have the same basic shape. They can be more or less padded, rocking or gliding, lower or higher, or even reclining.

Little Girl Sitting in Blue Arm Chair by Mary Cassatt
Little Girl Sitting in Blue Arm Chair

My ideal chair is to sided or deeply round, like a tube with an opening cut in it. At our table my spot is against the wall. So the back of the chair at a right angle to the wall makes a little pocket that holds me in. I’ve looked all over for such a chair, but only found one in an antique store for tons of money. I’ll settle for a deep overstuffed chair (with high arms into which I can snuggle).

Think about it. Chairs like the standard chair in a car or a kitchen or a waiting room are bad for you. The posture is messed up. They aren’t even comfortable. And sometimes I slide out of them. So how did we ever settle on that design as our model chair?

I watched Expelled tonight, an interesting documentary, well-filmed, peopled with vivid real-life characters. One of them is a man who was born in New York, and after teaching at various colleges in the US, moved to Paris. He was fascinating for two reasons. One, he held a pen in one hand at all times, and waved it as he spoke like those vintage movies where they lady has a cheroot. Two, he sat in a chair that had arms, but was shaped sort of like a semi-reclined wave. He was completely unashamed of this, though Ben Stein interviewing him sat upright in a regular rolling desk chair. Ben Stein wore tennis shoes with his suit, though – an equalizer for almost anyone.

What do you think? Have you ever thought of chairs? What’s your ideal?

To God be all glory.

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