Monday, February 17, 2014

A couch divided

The poor thing had to be put out of its misery.

“You’ve been good to us.  I’m so sorry it has to end this way,” I said, flicking out the blade on my pocketknife, pausing for a second to evaluate all of the unworkable alternatives once again, then plunging the knife in, right up to the hilt.  I ripped sideways as I pulled the blade back out, inflicting as much damage as possible. 

“No going back now,” I said.  Indeed, the time for second thoughts was behind me.  So was my four-year-old son, Evan, who witnessed the carnage wide-eyed.

“Why’re you doin’ that to the couch?” he asked.

The regular reader(s) of this column might recall that several years ago, I had to saw a couch in half to remove it from the basement of our old house.  It had taken six guys to get it down there; it took only me and a Black & Decker reciprocating saw to get it back out.  At the time, I remember thinking, “Well, that’s the last time I’ll ever have to do that.”

Then, last week, I found myself once again playing the role of the Grim Recliner, sending yet another piece of furniture to the Great Transfer Station on the Other Side of Town.  I never expected to make a habit out of sawing couches in half, but it seems that life has a way of making my couches too big and my doorways too small.  And my bald spot(s) too prominent, which is perhaps irrelevant, but still annoying.

My most recent victim had spent several years sitting under exposed insulation in our unfinished basement, so even though we finished the basement a few years back, you could never sit on that couch again without feeling like you’d just rolled around on an Owens-Corning factory floor.  When a friend offered us her very nice couch as a replacement, we jumped at the chance, even though we knew that our old couch would have to go live on a farm with a nice family and lots of open space to lounge around.

I kept stabbing and ripping at the upholstery, exposing the wooden skeleton underneath.  When you’ve been in the couch-dismembering business long enough, you learn that it’s easier to cut the back off the couch, rather than trying to saw the whole thing straight down the middle.  This way, you avoid having to cut through metal.  Of course, normal humans will probably never need to put that advice into practice, but this week marks the ninth anniversary of this column, so it’s probably time to start sprinkling in an occasional a fact or two.

“Treasures!” Evan yelled as I rolled the couch onto its front, exposing the long-forgotten items that had fallen inside.   

“Dude, it’s gross in there.  Don’t breathe in any fungus or anything,” I said to Evan as he reached through the torn fabric to pull out a pebble, a nickel and a hacky sack.

“A ball!” he said.

“Actually, it’s a hacky sack.  You spend years of your life learning to kick it into the air so that the stoners in high school will respect you,” I said.

“What?” he asked.

“Never mind.  By the time you get to high school, none of my experiences will be helpful to you in any way,” I said.

“A ball!” he replied, waving the hacky sack around. 

He sat on the coffee table playing with the hacky sack as I sawed the back off the couch.  A few minutes later, we’d gotten the ship out of the bottle, one piece at a time.  

I still feel a little bad about destroying a piece of furniture like that.  On the plus side, though, ever since that day, I’ve been getting much more respect from the coffee table.

You can drop off Mike Todd at the transfer station at


  1. With the crummy wood they use to make furniture these days, I bet Evan could have taken that thing apart.
    Oh yeah. Happy ninth anniversary. I always enjoy Mike Todd Monday mornings.

    1. You're right - I probably should have just given Evan an Allen wrench and let him go to town on it.

      And thanks, as always, for the encouragement!