Don’t Cry for Me, Ikea

Gather round, friends, and I shall tell you a tale.  It is a tale of a living room, much like this one, only immaculately clean and meticulous organized.  It was, in a word, magnificent.  Books sat on shelves in neat, orderly rows, organized by author and genre.  There were vases, ceramics and other assorted breakables as far as the eye could see.  Records and DVDs were placed on racks in plain sight, and were removed one at a time only for their proper use.  The windows were clear and gleaming and free of boogers, and the room was lovingly cleaned with stunning regularity.  It was a place where glamorous adults did glamorous adult things, like watching movies with curse words before 10 PM.  Often, this splendidly well-appointed living room would host grand parties, full of other adults, who would leave alcoholic beverages on low tables and shelves with reckless abandon.  Oh, it was a beautiful place indeed!

Then, one day, a dark shadow fell upon the unsuspecting living room as it was besieged by a tiny dictator.  The adults, forced to do the dictator’s bidding, took on the bedraggled appearance of a Nick Nolte mug shot.  Morning, noon and long into the night, the adults were at his beck and call.  Offerings were made to appease him, and rejected with thunderous anger.  And sadly, this once glorious living room began to fall into ruin.

As time passed, the dictator grew more fearsome.  Great waves of destruction were waged upon the living room, as though by some merciless force of nature.  Books were torn from the shelves, scattered and ripped asunder.  Delicate vases and adornments were replaced with plastic idols of garish deities:  Dora, goddess of exploration; Cookie Monster, god of Dionysian excess and baked goods; and Elmo, god of creepily inappropriate tickling.  Once orderly racks were stripped of their contents, the DVDs and records used as projectiles.  Dust bunnies the size of house-cats blew across the floor like tumbleweeds and a fine layer of crumbs covered every surface.  Wayward cheerios crunched beneath any feet brave enough to traverse the floor.  This once immaculate room had become but a shadow of its former majesty.

So, in this shadow, the adults remain; gazing longingly at the world outside through windows clouded with snot and Go-Gurt.  But as they stare, they dare to dream.  They dream of someday rebuilding; restoring their living room to the pristine oasis it once had been.  A faint ember of hope grows as they sift through the ruins and imagine picking up the pieces.  And just as they resolve to set off on that arduous road to recovery… as they survey the rubble and proclaim “TODAY is the day!”…as they gather their wherewithal and begin to make those triumphant first steps, like a glorious phoenix rising from the ashes….they step on an upside-down Lego, and say “Oh, fuck it.”