Be Careful What You Wish For

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For years I longed for a beautiful leather chair. It was my opinion that every writer’s study should have bookshelves teeming with dusty classics, a fireplace to give the room a cozy feel, and a luxurious leather chair to complete the look. Mind you, my so-called study was only a second bedroom not a real study at all, but no matter. It was merely a question of semantics. A bedroom can be called a study, an office, or a den. It’s all at the discretion of the writer who can be called a scribbler, an author, or a dramatist.

Well anyway, a few years ago I walked into Shunk’s Furniture in Sault Ste. Marie and there it was: the perfect chair. I sank into the real leather and inhaled the intoxicating aroma. I ran my fingers over the brass studs. I leaned back, closed my eyes, and rested my feet on the matching ottoman. I envisioned myself nestled deep within its cushions reading my rough drafts while the gentle strings of Pachelbel, Vivaldi, or Mozart drifted throughout the room.

However, I must admit I had a nagging concern. I wasn’t sure if the monstrosity of a chair could squeeze into my bedroom study. My doorways are tiny. I knew it would be a challenge and take a lot of maneuvering to get the chair into its new home. However, the salesman assured me if it wouldn’t fit, the delivery guy would load it back on the truck and return it to the store, no problem.

To my delight, with a minimum amount of shoving, crushing, and threatening to get out the Vaseline, the chair found its rightful place. Words cannot describe the satisfaction I felt as I sat at my desk and gazed at my new purchase. It didn’t matter that I had to walk sideways to reach my closet or that my oak dictionary stand was now permanently lodged in the living room. I didn’t care that every time I left my desk, I crashed into the ottoman directly behind me. The fact that two-thirds of the room was now taken up by my stupendous chair didn’t faze me. The thrill of owning something I had yearned for was greater than any inconvenience it caused. When my writing stalled, my eyes left the blank screen and rested on a fulfilled dream. I reasoned if one dream had come true, many more would follow. I returned to my work knowing the leather chair muse was with me.

Then winter descended. That bedroom was poorly heated and the electric element in my fireplace was a poor substitute for the real thing. As freezing November winds threatened to blow all the way through March, my attitude towards my chair changed. I began referring to it as the coffin. I no longer saw its beauty, only its coldness. I couldn’t sit on the thing unless I was wrapped in layers of heavy clothing, and it was shrouded with quilts. I resented having to crawl over it to get to my clothes. I was tired of bumping into the ottoman.

It took a while, but I finally admitted my muse had become a monster. It was a burgundy lump about as inviting as a lizard in a bathtub. I yearned for the comfort and warmth of my old fabric recliner that was stored in the garage. Before December winds had blown themselves out, I forced the leather blob through the doorway, down the hall, and into the living room. Then I dragged the blue recliner back to where it belonged—right across from the fake fireplace in my study. After months of tripping over the leather ottoman and struggling to reach my clothes closet, I was finally free to walk without any undue interference from the furniture.

Eventually, I gave the chair to my daughter. As you can see from the photo, my albatross iceberg is appreciated not by humans, but by the puppy who loves it. My experience only goes to show we should be careful what we wish for. Whether a person or an object, sometimes what we longed for the most isn’t nearly as rewarding as we thought it would be.


  1. Ms. Kennedy: I enjoyed your column on Daylight Savings Time with its accompanied nuisance and confusion. I have never seen a clear explanation of why we have it, nor whether it is worth the trouble. Meanwhile, I too love my little battery clocks, which never let me down. Best Wishes, Jean

  2. Hello Sharon,
    I find that since I emailed you “out of the blue” I’ve enjoyed reading a number of other articles you’ve written. It’s Easter-time and I still have more steps to keep taking, whether it’s spiritually or the daily reality of the uphill trail life seems to be. Your writing of times that are gone now evokes thoughts and memories of my youth at my grandparents farm. I used to love going for car rides with my grandfather who would always see a turnoff and “wonder where that road goes”? Such adventures!
    Thank you for your insights.
    Be well,

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