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In Search of the Holy Grail, or… a Couch

February 2, 2012

Much like Indiana Jones searched catacombs and castles around the world in search of the Holy Grail so too did we travel the city and search every store, warehouse and closeout showroom possible hoping to find OUR Holy Grail – a couch for the den. As a man, I could have accomplished this task in an afternoon, however, as my wife said, “There is no possible way to find the ‘right’ (or perfect) couch unless we REALLY shop.” So shop – we did….

I quickly learned that I am color blind because I have no ability to distinguish between shades of brown. My wife has a keen sense for this and many other style subtleties as she commented on each detail of every couch we looked at – most of which were unacceptable. The choices were endless…. Leather or fabric? Dark or light? Sectional? How about one with a built-in recliner? Answer: NO! So, we test drove dozens of couches in every style and covering the mind can imagine. Me, I’m about the size and the amount of space a couch takes up in the room. I don’t want to feel like it is shoe-horned in the den. Also, I wasn’t looking for something that would change my life. I just wanted something that wouldn’t make my back sweat in the summer.

We embarked on our search in December – me with my measurements and my wife with her finely honed eye for color and detail. We set off with only a vague idea of what we wanted. After the first 5 hours of shopping at 4 different stores, I realized she had no intention on buying anything. This was just the INITIAL shopping phase, and it was about reconnaissance. Or, as my wife would say, “I’m just trying to get a feel for what’s out there.” When I heard this my head fell in disappointment and I felt like a little boy whose parents just told him there is no Santa Claus.

That same afternoon I was talking to a friend and his wife about the day’s shopping. As I went through the day, his wife’s eye’s lit up as though I was a kindred spirit engrossed in the couch buying experience. He told me that he had his wife narrow the choice down to 2 or 3 couches, and then he picked whatever was cheapest. When I said, “That is genius! I’m doing that!” The twinkle in his wife’s eyes went dark and her shoulders slumped as she left the room in disappointment. We both agreed that it is easier to buy a car than a couch.

I didn’t completely adopt his approach, so the my wife and I went through more than our share of stores talking in Goldilocks speak. “This couch is too deep and hurts my back. This one is too soft. That’s just ugly. I feel like I am sitting on the floor. Did that one come out of Liberace’s house, or Siegried & Roy’s. How much?… Is that in pesos? Snake skin?…Really??? ” But, as the shopping wore on and days dragged into weeks I realized it was important not to have too many opinions when your wife is feathering her nest. Besides, I wanted to get this wrapped up sometime before our kids went off to college.

Then, I got the call to come and look at “A couch.” “I may have found the one.,” she said. So, I jumped in my car and drove to the store like my wife’s water had just broken. And there it was. Like a lone chalice among hundreds of goblets with the showroom light shining on it like God himself had opened up heaven to reveal the Holy Grail – and to put me out of my misery with great mercy. The perfect color, size, material, price, style…etc. When I told her I thought it was perfect and she had made an incredible choice. A large tear welled up in my eye as I faintly heard the salesman say, “You have chosen wisely.”

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved


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  1. I am so guilty of crushing hopes and dreams by saying I just want to see what’s out there.

  2. The phrase “You have chosen wisely” after my husband has shopped with me for hours/days would mean the world to him. I’m going to have to prompt the next salesman. I enjoyed reading this!

  3. the bright side life coaching permalink

    This is great. Hope you do something to celebrate your new purchase. Cheers to the holy grail!

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