The Man and the Painful Adventure of the Man Chair

By John Kass

July 10, 2020

After 36 years of marriage to The Lovely Sicilian—40 since we met—I have finally become a man.

A man with a man chair.

Because without a leather recliner, can a man truly call himself a man?


But I’ve got one now. And, as you can see by the generic photograph of a chair that is not my actual chair, near a fireplace that is not our actual wood-burning fireplace—there is no generic Zeus the Wonder Dog–here’s how this will work in real, actual life:

For the next week or so, I’ll be sleeping in that “man chair,” sitting up,  watching movies and sports on cable, after having painful shoulder surgery scheduled for this week.

This is the moment you’re supposed to play your tiny violins in sympathy for me, sitting on my behind, drinking and watching TV. Oh, the pain. Thank you my friends. Betty did not want me to write this, lest I remind readers that I have not had a proper man chair since forever. A man chair didn’t fit in our old place. The couches  she selected took up too much space in the living room. And the man chair “just didn’t fit, honey.” But now I have one. Doctor’s orders.

“You’ve been whining about your pathetic lack of chair for years,” said my friend Pat the Paramedic beginning his terrifying story. “And you’ll get to use your chair  for a couple weeks. But you better make sure she likes it, because when you’re healed it’ll belong to her. This happened to me. Marilyn just stood there like Billy Kilmer giving the thumb to Joe Theismann to get out of the huddle. She didn’t have to give me the thumb. I knew. I was out.”

I’m out?

Will Betty give me the thumb just like old Billy “Whiskey” Kilmer gave to Theismann?

Hey Pat, I just sat down. When I get out of the chair I’m taking you out to dinner: You, me, Marilyn and Betty, to J.C.’s Pub in McCook, where Joe will tell us stories about the journey of the wine from Argentina. Don’t fret. I’ll cut my own meat. But first, let me sit in the chair a while.

“My mother-in-law had shoulder surgery,” said a guy named Tom. “It was painful. And she took my chair. “She didn’t really ‘take’ it. I gave it to her. She was in pain.”

Nice stories Tom and Pat, but nobody is going to guilt me out of my man chair. Nobody. It’s my ‘precious,’ like a ring of power, but with a remote that’ll lift my bulk out of it when I’m ready to pad over to the fridge for a snack or cold beer.

I’ll never give up my chair. Never. My precious.

Doctors say it will hurt too much to sleep in a bed. And those of you who’ve had shoulder surgery have told me it will hurt too much to get out of  that bed. I’m a big fat baby when it comes to pain. Hence, the recliner with the “power lift. I did not opt for the “massage” button. That’s far too self indulgent. Many health experts who “believe in science”—including fly fishermen Steve the Pilot and Ross the Baker and Dr. Cory Franklin—are in support of me having this chair to get through shoulder surgery.

I may have mentioned it. A few weeks ago, I fell in the shower getting ready to take Betty out for dinner on our 36th wedding anniversary.

Stunned, I made it to the bedroom and tripped and fell again as she tried to help. I landed hard and pulled her down on top of me, shouting like a guy in a commercial, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up because I’m too damn fat and my shoulder hurts.”

When she finally got me up, I tripped and fell again hard on my elbow. I tore two rotator cuff tendons through, and a biceps tendon. We spent our 36th wedding anniversary in the hospital. Later, the orthopedic surgeon asked me what activities that are important to me that involve the use of my left arm.

I said: Fishing and typing, doc.

“Don’t you cast with your right hand?”

Yes, doctor, but you fight a fish with your left, maintaining pressure and cranking back the line. If you apply too much pressure on a big fish, you might break the line. Worst case scenario, you might also break your rod, and then Ross the Baker and Steve the Pilot will torment you, just as the leather-winged harpies tormented poor Phineus in the 1963 cult classic from my childhood, “Jason and the Argonauts.”

Enough with the mythology. I’ve got to get this left shoulder back in shape before the steelhead run in that river up north.


I’m told it might take a week or so before I’m moving my arm to squeeze some words out of it. And don’t tell me to use any of that black magic voice-to-text or speech recognition witchcraft mumbo-jumbo.

In the meantime, until my head clears from the pain pills, friends are pitching in to help. Cory Franklin, Steve Huntley, Greg Ganske, Pat Hickey are writing new columns. A column from my brother Nick. The writer Michael Ledwith just sent in a nice piece about his days on a hard-scrabble Georgia farm. And a few other new writers might weigh in too.

I hope you support them. As usual I plan to offer pithy comments under their columns in the “comments” section, even if I have type with my nose.

Will Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot write a guest column for  I really don’t think so. I’ve just told her to resign because she’s an incompetent, evil clown. She just left town with Chicago on fire, and I really don’t think she’s eager to write a gourmet travelogue about her trip to Paris and London. I would have called it “Mayor Phallus Maximus’ Moveable Feast.”

She’s always welcome to submit something as long as she doesn’t use the “F” word, or boast about the size of her “manhood.”

And bad shoulder or no, I’ve still got a big fat mouth that won’t shut up. So I suppose my buddy Jeff Carlin will keep the podcast machine warmed-up and we’ll make fresh podcasts The Chicago Way.

In the meantime, after I’m done binge-watching stupid TV shows and movies (your recommendations are most welcome) and looking into the fridge, I’ll be itching to get back to typing columns for you.

There is so much going on. Chicago’s main-event, the race for mayor, has begun. A once-great city is on the brink. Decisions made in the next few weeks will determine if the city reverses its slide into anarchy and chaos or becomes a New Detroit. And the state election season and that national red tsunami bearing down on the hysterical left in the mid-terms. It should be fascinating seeing woke corporate media pundits bail on Joe Biden and blame him for their sins.

And there are tomatoes for me to tend. Walks and talks with Zeus the Wonder Dog. New movies to write about. New books to think about. New federal trials full of old stories.

I’m so very glad you’ve joined me on this great adventure. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we began meeting here at at, I suppose that me popping my shoulder like some brainless spatchcocked chicken has caused me to miss this anniversary too. Has it really been a year?

This weekend after dinner, good friends served  delicious strawberry cake to commemorate the one year anniversary of this website. Surrounded by the laughter of friends, I took a moment to think of the drama and intrigue of leaving “the paper,” the rage of the woke newsroom when I dared try to warn you about the Soros prosecutors and growing lawlessness in the cities; the uncertainty I felt early on wondering whether you’d join me on this adventure. And all the neo-Marxist trolls now seething in rage because this website is a success and I haven’t stopped writing my columns.

How could I stop writing when you’re with me?

We have an agreement, you and me, don’t we? As long as you keep subscribing, I’ll keep on writing.

I’ll be back soon. Only a few days, then the torture machines of physical therapy, but I won’t stop writing.

And in the meantime, just keep your thumbs away from my man chair.



(Copyright 2022 John Kass)

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