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Gunning For Sofa’s

Posted by LOTGK on October 10, 2007

The summer of 1978. I had just graduated high school and was just beginning to enjoy my vacation. I had so many things planned. I was going to do the old Jack Kerouac thing and hitch across country until I reached the West Coast. I read the book, On The Road, and it seemed pretty cool. I was also going to swim everyday. Actually get a tan for the first time in my life. Hell, I was 18 and ruled the world. But, I needed cash. And since being a gigolo wasn’t working out the way I imagined, I had to seek employment.

A friend suggested a furniture company was hiring and he knew the manager and could get me in. I was gold. The next day I was hired at the Poland Countryside Furniture company. That morning I pulled in to the parking lot, parked the car, and went inside. I met my partner, Mike, and we immediately went to work loading the delivery truck for our first run of the day. We loaded couches, chairs, tables, lamps, all kinds of furniture. We neatly tied it all down and used blankets to keep them from getting scratched. Denny, the boss then handed me the keys to the truck. I slowly took the keys. I guess this would have been the perfect time to tell Denny that I didn’t know how to drive a truck. I thought I was just a delivery guy. I didn’t know I was hired to drive the truck. But, instead, I turned and headed for the truck.

I jumped in, adjusted the mirrors, the ones that had another tiny round mirror glued inside, pushed on the clutch, turned the key, and started the truck. So far, so good. This was gonna be easy. Then I noticed it. The gear shift had this red button attached on the side and it was labeled with the word “Low”. Little did I know that this was a 16 speed truck with 8 high and 8 low gears. Ignoring the button, I jammed the truck into first gear. (I hoped it was first) Letting out the clutch like I do with my car we were off to our first delivery. I actually did pretty good driving. The hills were a little unsettling and several motorists beeped their horns and some thought I was deaf as they signed me hand gestures of good driving.

Anyway, weeks passed and I was getting pretty good driving the big rig. Still never used the red button, (Didn’t need it) and we loaded up the truck for another delivery run. We arrived at our destination, a charming house with a double drive-way. Mike and I began unpacking the truck and placing the furniture on the driveway to save us some time climbing in and out of the truck to many times.

About five minutes later, the garage door opens and a four door sedan appears and backs out of the garage at a rapid speed. Mere seconds later the sedan rolls up the back of the yellow sofa that we had placed on the driveway. The car was going so fast that the couch acted like a ramp and the car rolled on top leaving the back wheels dangling off the ground several inches. The car turned the couch into kindling wood.

At this moment, time seemed to slow down. Everything was in slow motion. From the truck I saw the wheels spinning but the car going no where. I saw the driver, a man, still trying to get his car over the sofa. I saw Mike with a look of disbelief on his face. And I saw myself, starting to laugh at the situation.

A blink of the eyes later and I snapped back to reality. I had to take command of the situation. I walked over to the car and the driver who was still gunning the engine and tried to explain to him that he wasn’t going anywhere with his tires not making contact with the pavement. As fate would have it, I started laughing. Laughing real loud. You know the kind. The eye watering, side splitting, very vocal out of control laughing.

Maybe a minute later, I calmed down, Mike calmed down, and the driver actually calmed down and stopped gunning the engine. He got out of the car and asked us if we could assist in getting the car unlodged from the sofa. A couple of heave ho’s and we pulled the sofa out from under the car. There it lay on the ground splintered in a hundred pieces. Half jokingly I asked if he still wanted the lovely yellow sofa. The man went into a rage speaking in a language I wasn’t quite familiar with. Again, I started laughing. This time at him and he knew it. I told Mike to grab an end of the couch and load it back on the truck. The customer then said that since the couch was ruined, he didn’t want the other furniture. I told him no problem and we proceeded to load the rest of the stuff back up. I waved and gave him a thumbs up when we were ready to leave.

Footnote: Needless to say that the customer complained before we even got back to the warehouse. After our side of the story though, we kept our jobs and we worked through the summer until Fall quarter started at Youngstown State University.

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Grassy Knoll Institute

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