Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Greatest Bookcase Ever Made
This blog belongs in the second category.
A few weekends ago, my wife and I put together a fancy new bookcase. Take a moment to study the picture, and notice this particular bookcase is equipped with doors that open out and which are equipped with their own little shelves.
The bookcase, as bookcases will, proved more difficult to construct than the optimistic directions would suggest - not a lot more difficult, only somewhat - and Nancy and I made one or two mistakes, which we easily corrected, while completing the project. Nevertheless, the bookcase, which we believed we could knock out in an hour and a half, took the entire afternoon. Then, when we tried to carry it into the sun room, which was its destination, there was a sickening sound somewhere between a crunch and a rip, and the entire door fell off tand hit the floor. I cursed at this point.
The hinges had ripped off, and the bookcase, being made of particle board with a thin wood veneer, was so thoroughly gouged out where the hinges had been, putting them back in was out of the question. Nancy was philosophical about it - if the bookcase had to be thrown out, then it had to be thrown out - but I instantly sank into a sulk. We had guests for dinner, so while Nancy set about browning chicken or whatever, I contemplated the wreckage of our afternoon's work.
It didn't take long to come up with a solution, which was to putty over the gouged places and re-position the hinges where the particle board was undamaged. This took a little bit of doing, but it salvaged the bookcase. Nevertheless, I remained in a foul mood. I do not think I was mean to Nancy, I hope not, but I was sullen and ill tempered about the whole thing. By the time our guests arrived, I'm glad to say I was in a better mood - their charming company and the application of adult beverages did the trick, but I still can't forget how I let the bookcase get to me.
Shame on me.
I let a bookcase - which has no mind at all - dictate to me - a supposedly rational being - how to feel. Let me emphasize that during the whole ordeal, Nancy maintained her accustomed good cheer, but I let myself fall into a funk because of a bookcase. If the thing had gone together without difficulty or incident, I'd have been cheerful, but since it proved hard and then fell apart, I was in a bad mood. Ridiculous to give authority over my emotions to a bookcase! Blessings were heaped on me: a beautiful wife who loves me, wonderful people whom I love and enjoy, and a delicious dinner to boot, but the one thing I focused on was a bookcase that offered me a setback to build. What a chump to be angry at a bookcase, which has no ability to feel remorse and which, moreover, can't help being made of particle board with doors prone to fall off.
The bookcase turned out okay, and every time I see it, I'll try to remember how I foolishly let it decide whether the afternoon was pleasant for me or bitter. And remembering, I'll vow to be wiser next time, and let myself be content even when the outside world is not as cooperative as I think I deserve.
If the bookcase succeeds in doing that, it will be the greatest bookcase ever made.