Things Fall Apart

Broken FridgeThings go wrong around any house. Even the First Family’s. Even the Queen’s. But you sometimes you have to wonder: Why do they go wrong ALL AT ONCE?

The other day, with no notice at all, a steel rod suddenly shot up out of the mattress I share with my spouse, over on his side of the bed. It was like we were in an old prison movie and someone was trying to plant a shiv in his ribs.

HE says it’s just a stray end of inner spring that came unsprung and poked its way through the foam.

I say there’s more to it.

I say our mattresses get mad at us, as do our other household possessions, the way they suddenly malfunction.

Take our irons and ironing boards: they get mad at us too. I was pressing some pants the other day when my ironing board suddenly buckled at the knees and collapsed down onto the floor, taking the iron with it –not once but three times in a row.

Each time I pulled it back upright, checking to see that the latch was locked in place, and three times it went down – wham! – on the floor, the third time melting a big shiny patch into my cheapo rug with its artificial fibers made from recycled trash bags and soft drink cans.

It’s as if all our possessions are in cahoots – because there’s more:

Inside the house, a chair arm will, with no warning at all, detach itself from one of the dining room chairs when someone tries to rise from it.

Outside the house, lawn chairs will suddenly buckle under people, landing them flat on their keisters.

I got to thinking I knew what was going on: Our ‘things’ are jealous of us, because we last so much longer than they do.

I mean, aren’t the mattress merchants always telling us our bedding goes bad after a dozen or so years? And look at those irons. Any iron I buy goes stone cold after three seasons, tops. And those lawn chairs with their bendy aluminum legs? Try 12 months.

This was my theory anyway and it seemed like a pretty good one…Until last week when the weather suddenly moved in here with us and rain began coursing down the INSIDES of two windowpanes.

Could the house itself be jealous, because we’re going to live so much longer?

Negative. This house has been here since the 1890s.

Hmmmm. There was a fact worth pondering.

Come to think of it, the inner springs in my own spinal column have been known to sometimes go ‘sproing’.

And my own inner ‘iron’ often fails to heat up.

And as for all that collapsing and landing – wham! – on the floor, isn’t that in the future for all of us at some point?

Maybe our household goods aren’t jealous of us at all, and certainly not for our length of days.

Maybe what they’re really doing with all their wearing out and falling apart actually constitutes a cautionary tale and they’re offering us a lesson.

The lesson’s message? Strike now, while your iron is hot. Stand tall today, while your legs have strength to do so.

This is me on a typical morning (I’ve lost some weight lately.)

woman ironing

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13 thoughts on “Things Fall Apart

  1. It’s the little people. They bother me all the time – stealing things while I am using them. And they hide my eyeglasses. So I bough ta whole bunch of glasses from Building l9 and put them in every room in the house. Down cellar too, where I look for the pot o’ gold..

  2. Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    For the refrigerator/freezer, the luxurious Studebaker sedan, the all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii, and $50,000: who wrote this poem and what is its title?

    Get out of here Charles van Doren!

    1. I knew it without even having ti hesitate. William Buter Yeats! In fact I often think of that couplet that says “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.”

      He was a prophet … Love that you had this right at your fingertips John. How many others know that this is where Things Fall Apart originally came from!

  3. I think you and I are the only ones who still iron. I wouldn’t be without my ironing board and iron; everything in the house gets hit with an iron. My 3 year old nephew had never seen one and asked if we were going to the beach because I had a ‘surfboard’ in my kitchen!

  4. My ironing board is standing at the readiy in the laundry room. Ages ago, my young grandson, , seeing me ironing, , asked me what I was doing. I take after my mother, who used to iron my father’s underwear.

  5. Re: Yeats: That was a most amazing identification, Terry. And right off the bat. I think you should claim all those goodies offered by JohnL

    1. I’m sorry, although Terry Marotta correctly identified the poem’s author, she did not identify the poem, titled “The Second Coming.” But don’t feel bad, all contestants leave with their very own complimentary snack-size bag of Cheese Doodles!

    2. It’s just that I took a whole entire semester called Yeats and Joyce.

      Remember Molly Bloom’s “I said yes I will yes I will yes” Is there a more erotic sentence in all of literature?

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