Everyone enjoys a good “sit-down,” a comfortable time spent in wingback chairs, recliners, couches, etc. while watching television or perhaps reading a good book.

Sometimes we even need to sit down to do our jobs as I am doing while typing this, to make our laps available to our pets of choice, or to read that good book to our assorted children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews.

And when we sit there are two basic requirements for the furniture upon which we rest; it must be comfortable, and it must be stable.

There are, however, other requirements that have been generated over the centuries that master craftsmen have spent refining the art of sitting. We have made it conditional, adding in requirements of durability, style, price and availability. But many of these requirements are of unequal importance depending upon the individual sitter’s desire and goals.

Folding chairs, both light and portable, have long been a popular choice for sporting events and other outdoor venues. Recliners on the other hand are the “go-to” choice for professional sitters who by chance or design have also mastered the venerated art of napping.

But there is a constant among all of the stools, divans, chase lounges, and even the much-maligned bean bag chair. Regardless of need, desire or sitting goals, someone must produce all the assorted seats. Some of these producers of vertical repose appliances craft amazing pieces of solid yet aesthetic seats … others, not so much. And the dynamic behind this can be applied to many things in our society today. There is quite the competitive market, a rush to provide repose, if you will, to be the company upon which we rest our posteriors. Who knew our backsides would ever become so popular?

The competition began, perhaps, when Gronk the caveman first rested on one tree which had fortuitously fallen against another, thereby creating the first bark-a-lounger. The advent of better tools allowed our Neanderthal friends to replicate the design on a smaller scale; an important development given that even the most spacious caves of the time could not accommodate entire tree trunks. Early model seats were still quite large and difficult to move, but popular nonetheless and no doubt a factor in the growing popularity of the RHWOLTP (Real Housewives of the La Brea Tar Pits).

Later models solved the size issue to the extent that good, durable chairs could be moved by wagon or boat to far-flung locations around the world, often accompanied by the craftsmen who made them. The illustrious Gronk’s original design of adding leafy vegetation (thereby giving us the word “fern-iture”) to the seats was replaced by far superior cushions of hide, cloth and leather, which catered to both style and increased comfort. The whole process was a rousing success, with nearly every city in the known world being able to boast of local craftsmen dedicated to bringing the finest bottom-rester to everyone in the land. And the cost of these implements of repose was kept reasonable by the simple fact of craftsmen from one city desiring to match or exceed the value of what was made in other cities.

The situation proved amenable for many years, even for centuries. Local craftsmen created works of art and leisure that have stood the test of time and are valued highly to this day. This competition of equals (who were attempting to each craft their best) ensured that there would always be a place to sit whether around the dining table, the fireplace or even the idyllic front porch.

There are a lot of people in the world who make things, and (not counting an elaborately difficult customer service call) will never watch or hear about you using the things they make.

Dependable small businesses in our area drive our economy and make things both affordable and available for us. Our friends aren’t knowingly (mine might, but I’m not bringing Dan and Matt into this) going to put us in a seat that is unsafe for any weight, but a lot of subpar corporations could honestly care less. So, we need to support businesses who have our backs — not to mention backsides — long after the money has changed hands.

Small businesses are made up of our friends, families and neighbors and are more committed to doing right by us. In a very real way, they are part of our lives, and anything that would hurt us hurts them. So, they are going to give us the most comfortable seat they can, and they won’t hesitate to sit down next to us.

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