Ode To a Miniature Chair

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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To be happy, or project the illusion thereof, some people covet valuable jewels, others demand high performance automobiles, and a few collect sculptures and paintings. Me? These days, my modest aspiration is to acquire modern miniature furniture.

It is not about touting my wealth (or lack of it). It is not to show off my connoisseurship. I collect small chairs, tables and even tiny toilets— what some might call doll furniture — because it is a means to control my own environment (and be the master of my domain).

Anyway, everyone loves miniatures.

So, two weeks ago, while browsing through the local flea market, a dealer friend pulled out the chair above from his bag. I saw a similar one once before. Modern in design, exactly replicated and old enough to have a museum-quality patina. He gave me a nice discount so I bought it (however I would have paid the list price). I brought it home and put it in a place where I could look at it for hours on end.

What utter contentment.

The dealer told me he had a miniature modern couch too. So I returned the next weekend. The couch was the wrong scale; just a tad too big. What’s more, it was not as enticing as this chair. I could picture myself owning it, but that’s all it would be — a purchase. This chair was a “find.” This chair makes me happy. The couch would be only a compulsive reflex. I resisted. I walked away. I had no remorse, which was validation that I did the right thing.

Later that night the dealer called me. No, not to say he reduced the price or bait me through another manipulative ploy. But to say that he learned my chair was a furniture salesman’s model for a grand 1930s dirigible passenger airship (a Zeppelin), like the ill-fated Hindenburg. The idea that this was a miniature sample for something as iconic as that filled me with satisfaction. All I could say was, “What a chair! What an unbelievably exceptional chair.”

(See Nightly Daily Heller on Herb Lubalin’s PBS logo here.)