16 December 2016

The chairs of Abbu

As a child, I was told by my brother that our father had invented chairs, and I believed it.

Not a chair – not some specialized chair, something like might be trademarked and profited from – but rather chairs as in the entire notion of chairs. As in there had been no chairs, not anywhere, none at all, and then Abbu came along and invented one and now there were chairs.

Do not think me a fool. I was skeptical at first and I challenged my brother on his claim.

“People sat down before Abbu, right?” I said. “They had rocks or something for sitting…”

“Have you ever sat on a rock?” my brother said.

“No,” I said, and in fact, I never had sat on a rock. After all, we had chairs.

“Well,” he said, “rocks are terribly uncomfortable. Before chairs, everyone would just stand around or else lie down.”

I thought about this. I tried an approach that was different.

“But look at this history book from school,” I said. “This drawing is of ancient Greeks, and here’s a man sitting in a chair!”

“When was your book written?” my brother said.

I checked the date. “1992,” I said.

“Well, there you have it,” my brother said. “Abbu invented chairs before ‘92.”

His logic was sound.

The next day, I walked into my classroom at school. I looked at the students, sitting around in chairs – something my own father had gifted upon all mankind!

I swelled up with pride. I thought of how difficult school must have been before, what with all the students standing or lying down the whole time.

The truth would come out much later on and as a shock.

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