Living Retired: ‘FOLDING LAWN CHAIRS’
LIVING RETIRED: ‘FOLDING LAWN CHAIRS’
Birthday parties aren’t so much fun anymore. At least not compared to when we were younger. Back then, when we were invited to our best friends 4th birthday party the highlight was everyone blowing root beer out of their nostrils!
These days the highlight is opening the damn juice box for your grandkids 4th birthday and trying to poke the plastic straw through the seal without squirting sticky lemonade down your compression socks!
So, when Jan and I got an invitation to our friends outdoor, socially-distanced 70th birthday party recently, we knew there wouldn’t be any juice box mishaps. The worst part of the evening would be trying to set up our folding lawn chairs! These chairs haven’t been out since last summer when it was, well, still Covid!
For me folding lawn chairs go ‘waaay back.’
The folding lawn chair design is similar to lightweight umbrella strollers we pushed our sleeping, drooling kids around theme parks. Before that, women’s hips permanently protruded perilously from carrying the kids. So, Eureka! a flimsy stroller with curved handles and wobbly wheels that folded down into a stick-like thing was just what Dr. Spock ordered. Years later, someone visualized seeing baby boomer men wedged into a funnel-shaped seat – also drooling! – and the folding lawn chair was invented.
We have a set of the folding lawn chairs that are popular these days – they fold down into their own bag that comes complete with a drawstring that doesn’t work!
“Jan why do they insist on manufacturing all-in-one folding lawn chairs with their own little storage bag with strings attached?”
“Gary, you and folding lawn chairs are a match made in physical therapy heaven. Please be ‘chair-full.’”
Arriving at the birthday party toting two folding lawn chairs in bags was the easy part. The rest doesn’t sit well with most men…
First you fumble with the drawstring that doesn’t work until the chair eventually pops open. Next, reaching behind, flailing your arms desperately to find the arm handles, you very slooowly back yourself up – until you feel comfortable collapsing! With a bit of luck, you’ll end up in the chair! That’s the good news. The bad news is after sitting with your forehead level with your knobby knees your body takes on the shape of a crumpled bag of Doritos corn chips – which isn’t a problem until men my age drink beer and have to get up to go to the bathroom!
It isn’t a case of simply getting up out of a folding lawn chair – you have to friggin’ extricate yourself!
The best way to describe extricating yourself from a folding lawn chair is to picture in your mind a grown man seated with his shoulders slouching down towards his beer belly. Reaching his arms up, he grasps the 2 armrests and slowly begins a rocking motion – one, two, and three! – and tries to stand up! Of course, the chair doesn’t rock because it has 4 little black plastic feet stuck in the ground, so getting up from the chair is like the World Series – a best 4 out of 7 event! The women stand by betting how many rounds it will take until I am on my feet.
Finally, I am up! But before making a beeline to the bathroom, I have to stretch my body; you know try to work the kinks out.
Within a few minutes the feeling comes back in my legs. My hips are up for the trip to the bathroom inside our guests home.
SPLAT! The damn folding lawn chair was still wedged onto my rear end! I’m like a collapsed canvas tent with a can of beer still stuck in the armrest can holder.
“Gary, be careful. You could break your arm and that wouldn’t be ‘humer-us.’”
Then it happened! The party took a turn for the worse…
All my baby boomer beer-drinking friends were also stuck – saddled with the same predicament. Everywhere you looked best ‘4 out of 7’s’ happened as men tried rocking themselves up and out of their folding lawn chairs. One, two, and three! And again!
Eventually, guys are clamouring around our friends backyard like a parade of peacocks with our necks protruding – but instead of a plume of colourful tail feathers we have aluminum frames, red canvas, and beer holders stuck to our butts in relax-fit jeans!
Folding lawn chairs. They don’t sit well with men.