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Key Acquisition: A camp chair

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How you can change your life for the better in simple multiples of eight dollars.

Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images. Banner Society Illustration.

I have acquired a camp chair.

I was skeptical for so long about getting myself a camp chair. I spent almost all of my life standing up or sitting down on things that were not camp chairs, especially when I was at a football tailgate. I did not ask permission. I did not request a space. I did not demand or even inquire politely about a place to put my butt. In every social situation, my ass was a lonely interloper.

I was, reader, alienated from my fellow man. In situations where there was a circle of togetherness, I would remain a free radical. This distance affected my relationships with people. Others were prepared, and had their own camp chairs, or maybe they just had the innate confidence to go purchase a camp chair of their own. Perhaps it was a fear of rejection of my part, this not bringing my own camp chair assuming there would be no space in the circle for me. Convinced of being an outcast, I removed the possibility of chair ownership beforehand to avoid rejection altogether.

There may have even been a sale on camp chairs at the sporting goods store. Who knows? Life is about mystery, and this is but one of them.

No longer. I have acquired a camp chair, and now will be part of society.


I have acquired two camp chairs.

I first believed that one camp chair would be sufficient enough. But after trying it out at a football game, and enjoying sitting with friends taking in the scenery and becoming a prepared and accepted member of the social group, I understood that more action was required. I needed to take that next step.

I had to acquire a second camp chair.

I understand the risks of acquiring the second camp chair. There is the fear that I am being presumptuous in assuming someone might sit in this second camp chair. This is a step: No matter what game I am at, I have to assume that my company is pleasant. I have to say, this is a person worth being, and a person worth knowing, or at least borrowing a camp chair from for a moment. Buying a second camp chair is no mere purchase. It is a step in self-affirmation.

As for the quality of the chair: I am happy to report that this chair is identical to my original camp chair, which I have named EXCELSIOR ONE. It cost exactly $8 at the sporting goods store. Though I am not completely certain of this, I believe EXCELSIOR TWO to be identical in quality as well as price. It should provide everything that a stranger would need to be my friend, and also to support them in our moments of shared leisure.


I have become very powerful.

I have acquired a third camp chair.

I know, I know. It seems rash, yes? I believed two camp chairs, while practical, also indicated serious ambition. I believe it indicated a confidence, a real belief not only in my ability to carry the camp chair, to remember it and plan ahead, but also that somebody would want to sit next to me, and enjoy the company of me, my friends, and the day together.

I have some data to support the conclusion this plan has worked. Seven people have enjoyed the $8 seat of EXCELSIOR TWO since I purchased it at the sporting goods store. People have consumed beverages in it. They have eaten in it. They have discussed football while sitting in affordable comfort for long stretches of time.

All of the chair-occupiers seem to have enjoyed it, though I have not given anyone surveys, and I do not plan on collecting any data or anecdotal evidence in the future. I also am not completely sure everyone enjoyed my company, but at the very least nobody seem openly antagonistic.

Of the seven people that have enjoyed my pair of camp chairs at tailgates, I have remembered four new names. This is a personal best. I have also acquired three new phone numbers, and have texted each of them in a social capacity. This outreach campaign on my part has been entirely owing to the quality and deployment of two $8 chairs.

Based on this, I have reviewed my budget, and have done what was once the unthinkable.

I have purchased an unprecedented third camp chair.

I understand that this is a big risk, bigger than even the purchase of the second camp chair. I believe though, that is fine. I believe that the camp chair and the conversation and social ease it brings to the situation will not diminish with the addition of a third. I believe the dynamic will open up, and that the ease of discussing the day’s events, the score of the football game, and even the weather will be made even easier by the introduction of a new camp chair.

This move toward a group discussion will give me the stability and social networking I crave as a social animal.

There are a few logistical challenges to the acquisition of a third camp chair. There is the budget, where I now have spent a sizeable $24 on camp chairs. While I am not wealthy, I do believe $24 to be an acceptable amount to spend for most anyone. Should these be lost to an act of god, theft, or accident, replacing them will still only leave me out $48.

Furthermore, I believe three camp chairs to be a challenging but acceptable load to carry from one car to a tailgating tent on a football weekend. I do not require any conditioning to carry these three chairs. I believe them to be light enough so that a normal person can walk substantial distances from the car to the tailgate with them.

I also have begun to feel powerful sitting in the camp chair and inviting more than one person to sit and recreate. This is a feeling of power, of security in emotional comfort but also that of a slight importance of my role and utility. Before I purchased a camp chair, I was alone and without a home. Then I purchased one camp chair, and I felt stronger and more attached to the world that we know. With the purchase of two camp chairs, I began to feel as if I were growing a network, a society, and a family.

Now, with the purchase of my third camp chair, I believe I am now forming my own community, a place where my friends can relax with each other and enjoy each other’s company without standing. These three camp chairs create togetherness, a togetherness what would have been impossible without a.) my belief in myself, and b.) the ease and availability of quality budget camp chairs.

A part of me fears I have come under the sway of a mania I cannot control, though — that with a third camp chair, I will become too sure of myself, and become megalomaniacal in my pursuit of camp chair-based power.

It’s probably a silly worry, but let’s just see how it goes. I’ve come so far already. Surely one step further cannot hurt.


I HAVE ACQUIRED A FOURTH CAMP CHAIR.

I HAVE NOW BECOME GOD, THE ARRANGER OF WORLDS. TO MY LEFT, A CAMP CHAIR. TO MY RIGHT, ANOTHER. ACROSS FROM ME IS THE CIRCLE CLOSED, EXCELSIOR FOUR. IT HAS CLOSED THE LOOP AND CREATED A CIRCUIT OF POWER NONE CAN BREAK, NOT EVEN WHEN SOMEONE MUST GET UP TO PEE OR GET MORE CHIPS OR SOMETHING. NONE CAN DISRUPT ITS POWER!

FROM MY VANTAGE POINT I CONTROL ALL AND SEE ALL. FOR JUST $32 I HAVE COMMANDEERED THE STEERING WHEEL OF THE UNIVERSE ITSELF. COMMERCE AND SOCIETY REVOLVE AROUND ME NOW. THE WEATHER ASKS ME FOR PERMISSION TO OCCUR. ALL PLEAD FOR SPOTS AT MY ROUND TABLE. YET ONLY A FEW ARE WORTHY OF KNIGHTHOOD AND THE KING’S FAVOR.

NOTE: THE KING’S FAVOR IS MORE EASILY BOUGHT WITH TOP-SHELF LIQUOR AND QUALITY MEATS THAN CHIPS YOU JUST BROUGHT FROM THE STORE, KAREN. STEP IT UP NEXT TIME AND RECEIVE THESE BLESSINGS.

AHHHHHHHHHH. WHAT BEGAN AS A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT HAS NOW GRANTED ME THE STRENGTH OF FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND MEN. I THOUGHT THREE CAMP CHAIRS WOULD BE TOO MUCH TO MANAGE. BUT NOW I SEE HUMILITY FOR WHAT IT IS: A LIE. LIMITLESS ARE MY HORIZONS.

I BELIEVED BUYING THINGS WOULD GRANT ME HAPPINESS AND YOU KNOW WHAT, READER? I WAS WRONG. IT GRANTED ME HAPPINESS AND AN IMMORTAL POWER FEW CAN IMAGINE. BEFORE I STOOD LIKE A PEASANT. NOW, THANKS TO WIDELY AVAILABLE PRODUCTS MADE FOR PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR IN CHINA, I SIT AS A KING.

I AM CONSIDERING BUYING A FIFTH CAMP CHAIR. SHOULD YOU HEAR FROM ME AGAIN IT WILL BE NOT AS A MAN WHO HAS BECOME A GOD, BUT AS A GOD DEIGNING TO SPEAK TO YOU IN THE TINY PRIMITIVE SOUNDS YOU CONSIDER LANGUAGE. THAT’S IF YOU HEAR FROM ME. A FIFTH CAMP CHAIR MAY RENDER ME INCAPABLE OF CONCERN WITH THIS MUDDY PRIMITIVE PLANET. I MAY FLOAT IN THE UNIVERSE ENJOYING THE COMPANY OF MY TRUE PEERS: THE PLANETS, AS GREAT IN THEIR GRAVITY AND POWER AS I, THE MAN WITH FIVE CAMP CHAIRS, WILL BECOME.

LET ANOTHER MAN ATTEMPT THE OWNERSHIP OF FIVE CAMP CHAIRS AND TREMBLE AT THE STRENGTH REQUIRED TO CARRY THEM ALL, MUCH LESS WIELD THIS POWER WITHOUT MADNESS TAKING OVER!!!