Musical chairs solved with duct tape

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ columnist

One of my favorite places to shop during the holiday season are office-supply stores. There are pens on sale, Post-It notes on sale, media storage devices on sale — and half-price chairs to sit in while you’re waiting in line.

About two years ago, I purchased one of these half-price chairs, which I figured would go in my home office and make me more productive. That never really happened, because my home office is a desk with my laptop, and my couch or bed is infinitely more comfortable than any desk I’ve ever met. So now the chair is a $50 coat rack on wheels. But that’s still a pretty good deal, because it was a $100 coat rack with wheels a month before.

So the chair did little but hold coats until this week, when I decided to take it on a field trip and introduce it to duct tape.

You’ll need some background before we can go on.

A few months ago, Freedom New Mexico Publisher Ray Sullivan came to the newsroom to have a chat, and he sat at the desk of a coworker we’ll call Dave, whose shift didn’t start for another few hours.

What Ray did not realize was that Dave had the most unstable office chair in the newsroom, and possibly the entire tri-county area. The fact that Dave never fell out of the chair was a source of amazement for the rest of the newsroom — so amazing, in fact, we took it for granted and forgot to warn anybody sitting there.

Well, through no fault of his own, Ray experienced that one feeling we don’t have a word for. You know, the feeling when you come inches from falling to injury, only to catch yourself just in time? And you catch your breath, the same way you would when you wake up from a dream that you are falling? If we ever invent that word, that afternoon chat was the picture we’d assign to it.

Ray came one step from injury, and he hated the thought of Dave going one step further. He immediately put in an order for a new chair for Dave.

Armrests, cushioned back, posture support. Needless to say, Dave loved having a new chair, and appreciated not having to ask for it. And the newsroom appreciated it too, because the employee who gets to the office first ends up using the chair until Dave arrives to claim his rightful throne.

Now this is where my coat rack comes in. Whenever somebody takes Dave’s chair, another chair gets moved into his spot. And somebody likes that chair better, so they swap out theirs. And so on, until my desk ends up with what is now the worst chair in the office. The problem is, you don’t know the chair is bad until you stand up and your tailbone activates your pain sensors as if to say, “Really, that’s the best you can do for me? I’m your freaking tailbone, show some respect.”

You can already guess my solution. I arrived to work Monday with my four-wheeled passenger, and I’m now sitting in a comfortable office chair that still fits my coat perfectly.

If you can’t guess the duct tape, just imagine a pair of silver bars on the plastic handles, with “Kevin Wilson” poorly inscribed with a Sharpie (likely another office supply holiday special).

All of my problems were solved. Until I got home Monday and my coat ended up on the floor. Anyone know how to build a coat rack with three-fourths of a roll of duct tape?