Thursday, December 13, 2018

Void filler

     My sense of humor can be ... odd at times.
     We finally got chairs for the kitchen, to replace the counter height quartet that, after 15 years of sledgehammer onslaught from Steinberg posteriors, had begun to wobble. The new chairs, from Pottery Barn, came individually packed, carefully wrapped in styrofoam sheeting. The space between the chair back and the seat was filled with these smaller boxes, each box empty and labeled "VOID FILLER" I suppose to prevent customers from assuming that something was supposed to be inside and then complaining that whatever they imagined wasn't there.
     "This is just what we need!" I exclaimed to my wife. "I felt an absence ... I couldn't put my finger on it. And now we have this!"
    With the boys away in law school, well, I'll admit, a chunk of life seems missing. I didn't want to complain—with the real losses and tragedies happening every day, the less said about this lacuna, the better. All is as it should be.
    Still ... the void was real. It would manifest itself toward dinner times where I might—or might not—wanly inquire of the wife, "Hear from the boys?" 
    And she would say yes, she had gotten an email from this or that boy about this or that concern. A couple pebbles to suck on for a day's trudge through the empty nest desert. 
    Often not even that. Nope, nothing, they're busy, I'm busy, we're all busy, beavering away at our work. Which fills the void nicely, except when it doesn't. And for that, I have these convenient boxes. 
     Actually, I don't. My wife took one look at them. "Ha ha," she said, and instructed me to dispose of them. Which I did. 


  1. Every time you use the word "lacuna," I have to look it up. Must be a tiny black hole in my brain that sucks in new information and won't let it out.


    1. I like the use of "beavering away"--it's something I hadn't heard before. Thought it might be just something British, but apparently, it's been around for awhile. Reminds me of the hotel housekeeper who asked me when she could come back to begin "hoovering" my room. Can't remember what town that happened in, but I'd never heard it before. Nor have I heard it since.

    2. In The Crop, a short story by Flannery O'Connor, one of the characters complains that she "bisselled" the dining room 4 times that week.

    3. "A bissel"...with only one Yiddish for "a little." A few years ago, I bought an old Bissell carpet sweeper at a yard sale--barely used and still in the original box.

      The box featured the silhouette of a curvy "homemaker"--in a long skirt and high heels, with an upswept hairdo. Just to her right was script lettering that spelled out the words: "You need a Bissell every day." Under that, in large caps, were the words "FOUR-PIECE"...

      I still own the sweeper, and although I no longer have the box, I saved that part of it..."a bissel of a Bissell [box]"....

      True story.

  2. Love this, though my first thought at the phrase “void filler” was — you guessed it — something found in 45’s brain...

  3. "She who must be obeyed."

    Didn't know you had a cat. Which can help fill the void.

    So did you find the new chairs satisfactory?


  4. I thought it was shipper-speak for "styrofoam peanuts." I learn so much here.


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