To me the modern couch, or “sofa” as some people call it, is perhaps one of the most versatile, comfortable pieces of furniture ever invented. Its pure, unadulterated form provides function for any and all indoor activities and its warm, inviting nature makes it a comforting, ever waiting friend at home.
Think about it. You come home from work all tired, grab some dinner and sit down on your favorite end of the living room luxury seat to relax. Then, when dinner’s over, you transform your position from sitting to lying down on your foam-filled friend until it’s time to go to bed. But wait! The couch itself is already a bed of sorts so why move? It’s the perfect companion.
The best part of a couch is the instant lean support of the back it provides while lying down. It’s comforting as opposed to a typical bed and, without trying to sound too much like a loser, can make you feel as if you’re not sleeping alone. In fact, the sofa back is the bedfellow that doesn’t talk back … ahhhh.
My couch is one of my most prized possessions. If you’ve been reading this column long enough, you may remember a piece I published a few years ago outlining the tearful saga of my history with sofas from the context of failed relationships.
In it I wrote, “There’s nothing better than planting myself on it in the horizontal position and flipping through the TV channels like the apocalypse is coming. I am a true, red-blooded U-S-of-A couch potato.” And four years later, that’s still my philosophy.
As a big fan of the divan, I find myself constantly drawn to sofas in other people’s houses and even on TV. The first time I visited Graceland, I was in awe of the King’s custom made 15-foot white sofa in the living room (pictured).
Part of the allure was realizing that he didn’t want the longest couch they make, or to compromise and put two normal sized sofas together (maybe divided by an end table). No, “E” wanted a couch that would require furniture manufacturers to modify an existing construction design in order to withstand the enormous weight of however many people could fit on a 15-foot sofa—especially if one of them is Elvis. Only the best for rock royalty.
One of my favorite television shows is of course, “Seinfeld.” Throughout the run of the show Jerry upgraded sofas a few times. To me, the “green couch episodes,” as I refer to them, were the best. Nowadays, I’ll flip past the channel if it’s an early “black and blue couch” episode. The show was still finding its feet during that time, meaning Poppy hadn’t peed on any of them yet.
Watching prison documentaries, I find it strange that inmates are given cots or bunks instead of sofas. If you’re going to be confined to your cell for 23 hours a day—most of which are waking hours—then why not a couch? It’s more versatile for sitting, as well as providing a great place to crash when it’s lights out. Maybe part of the punishment is having to sit Indian style like when you were a kid or worse, lean back against the cinderblock wall behind you to get some upright action. To me, that would be Hell.
Some people’s idea of sofa Heaven is an overstuffed reclining sectional with cupholders and coolers built right in. Who cares about style when you can lean back into more-than-your-fair-share of foam filling covered in multi-colored burlap-esque fabric or, better yet, micro-suede? Sweet—and with 36 months no interest, cost efficient for the doublewide budget.
I take it that more and more of the latter have friends, relatives and trailer-park neighbors practicing the ancient, fine art of “couch surfing.” This custom involves a “crasher,” or temporarily homeless person, using your living room as their bedroom until you kick them out or another friend’s sofa opens up—whichever comes first.
In extremely rare cases, couch surfing can actually take you places. It’s rock folklore that Steven Tyler’s rehab-bound “rock-bottom moment” came when he realized he’d been crashing on bassist Tom Hamilton’s couch for quite some time (or when Mrs. Hamilton kicked him out—whichever came first). Jonathan Richman is said to have been discovered partially because at the time he was crashing on the sofa in Velvet Underground’s Manhattan office. So there is hope for catching a wave.
Me, I’ll likely just use my sofa for lying around watching documentaries about those and other interesting people. And, if anyone should stop by I can sit up, invite them to sit down and bam!—instant socializing, sofa style.
Chuck Crowder is a local writer and general man about town. His opinions are just that. Everything expressed is loosely based on fact and crap he hears people talking about. Take what you read with a grain of salt, but let it pepper your thoughts.