Until this week, the coffee table my wife and I had in our living room worked well enough. After this week, there was no hope of that coffee table working again. Not after what I did to it.
It had its issues, to be sure. It was a rectangular table, with rounded wings that could be pulled up to carry it around — and/or to form a ring around the tabletop if you need a space to Beyblade. Those wings could also be pushed down to give it an oval shape and the vast majority of the time, we left them down. The problem was that we also put our feet up on the table while watching TV, which weighed on the handles and gave them a slight downward slant. This meant that if you put a water glass on the edge of the table, any movement in the room might cause it to slide down the slope and fall on the floor. But, as I found out, feet were less of a problem than a whole body.
The table also had cracks that were fairly wide separating the main rectangle from the wings, and crumbs could fall down in those cracks, rendering them very difficult to get out without the advent of an anteater snout. This piece of furniture, which we bought at a thrift store back in 2018, was fairly flimsy, and because we have limited space in our apartment, it had to do double duty as our dinner table, too. It was, likely, too much for one thrifted table to take.
My wife often makes fun of me for having bad balance. I contend that I have good balance when it counts, i.e. I have never fallen off a cliff. The downside is that I don't have good balance when it doesn't count and have, as a result, occasionally made unforced coordination errors. Once, in college, while standing around talking to people in the library I suddenly realized I was falling over. I didn't trip while walking. I lost my balance from a completely stationary position. In fairness, I had pulled an all-nighter the night before, but still, I have been around other very sleepy people and never seen this happen to anyone else.
That was our table yesterday morning, when I stood up too fast, lost my balance, and leaned forward, putting all of my weight on the tabletop, which broke it instantly. As I lay on the floor, covered in debris, I wasn't surprised that this had happened. My wife wasn't surprised when I called her at work to tell her about it either.
It didn't hurt, thankfully. Despite the table splintering into about a dozen pieces, none of those pieces ended up injuring me at all. My bicep area hurt briefly from, I guess, hitting the still-standing frame as the tabletop collapsed beneath me. But that pain faded quickly, and I'm only minorly sore today. I put the small pieces in a trash bag, and hauled the bigger pieces out to our trash can. Afterward, our living room looked like this.
When my wife got home from work, we headed out to find a replacement. The flimsy thing did double duty as our dinner table, so it wasn't something we could take care of. We ended up at a thrift store — a recurring theme — with extremely narrow aisles, fenced in on every side by endless glassware and out-of-print books. Given that there was often a foot or two of clearance on each side as you walked through the store, I was worried we wouldn't be able to get a table out, especially if we chose one from toward the back. There was always a chance I would fall through another one.
Eventually, we found a few we liked, but needed to make sure it would fit in the car. We hadn't brought a tape measure, but the cashier let us borrow his. We measured our car's backseat, then went back in and measured the tables. Our first choice was way too big, but our second choice pick fit perfectly. And, bonus: it was light and narrow enough that we got it past the glassware and old hardcovers without any issue. I guess I do have good balance when it counts.
Overall, despite the limited fun factor and replay value, I do recommend falling through your coffee table, especially if you aren't satisfied with your current set-up. Though the experience was a little on the easy side — I nailed it first try — the sequel promises to have a much more rewarding difficulty curve. I can't wait to try falling through Coffee Table 2.
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