The sofa of sin

About forty years ago we traded our old Volkswagen Beetle for our first piece of new furniture: a mauve sofa. It was roughly the shade of Pepto-Bismol, but because it represented to us a substantial investment, we thought "mauve" sounded better.

The man at the furniture store warned us not to get it when he found out we had small children. “You don’t want a mauve sofa,” he advised. “It’ll be the devil to keep clean. Get something the color of dirt.” But we had the na├»ve optimism of young parenthood. “We know how to handle our children,” we said. “We’ll take the mauve sofa. We can easily keep the kids OFF the sofa and ON the black Naugahyde chair. Not to worry.”

From that moment on, we all knew clearly the number one rule in the house: Don’t sit on the mauve sofa---don’t touch the mauve sofa; don’t play around the mauve sofa; don’t eat on, breathe on, look at, or think about the mauve sofa. If you want to sit, sit in the black chair. Remember the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden? “On every other chair in the house you may freely sit, but upon this sofa, the mauve sofa, you may not sit, for in the day you sit thereupon, you shall surely die.”

Then came the Fall.

One day there appeared on the mauve sofa a stain. A red stain. A red jelly stain.

Since I had chosen the mauve sofa and adored it, I lined up our three children in front of it: Dusty, age seven; Corey, age four; and Lizann, six months.

“Do you see that, Kids?” I asked. “That’s a stain. A red stain. A red jelly stain. The man at the sofa store says it is not coming out. Not forever. Do you kids know how long forever is? That’s how long we’re going to stand here until one of you tells me who put the stain on the mauve sofa.”

Corey was the first to break. With trembling lips and tear-filled eyes he said, “Duth-ty did it.” Dusty passionately denied it. Then there was silence, for the longest time. No one said a word. I knew the kids wouldn’t, for they had never seen their mother so upset. I knew they wouldn’t, because they knew that if they did, they would spend eternity in the time-out chair.

Uh...I knew they wouldn’t, because suddenly I realized that I was the one who put the red jelly stain on the mauve sofa. And I wasn’t saying anything. I figured I would find a safe place to eat crow.

But not on the mauve sofa.


  Huntington Beach News


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