The Chairs of Our Lives…Concluded

…my apologies to anyone that reads this all the way through.


Tyler Kirk, Staff Writer

This article is entirely satirical. I had a plenty happy childhood, and I do not have thoughts this serious (most of the time) about chairs. My apologies to anyone that reads this all the way through.  

A seldom thought aspect of the high school experience, is the one you sit on. You may have a favorite chair and not realize it; however, do you know the particular details of that chair? The manufacturers guidelines for sitting in said chair? The psychological impacts of that chair on focus? Do you, better yet, have a list that ranks each chair? If you answered no to any of the questions above, this article serves to squander your newly-induced chair hysteria. I have undertaken the momentous feat of reviewing every single chair on the grounds of Bel Air High School to answer these burning curiosities. 

Visons of the chairs of my childhood still haunt me. The harsh wooden backing, carefully anchored mortise and tenon joints, the stains of paint, all a remembrance of a now long distant youth. All of these are reminiscences from the construction and creation of the late 1990’s ideal of a “dining room chair,” who extended far past its intended purpose, and especially not the one it was designed to fill. Tear-soaked multiplication tables, job applications, unfinished biology homework, executed from this cherry-wood-stained excuse of a pedestal. Within the next five years this chair will be tossed aside to the curb having reached its expiration date, not only coinciding with the inevitable destruction of my youth and the familial structure I have grown accustom to the last 16 years, but nestling itself in the already fleeting collection of incohesive thoughts and memories that is my childhood. 

When I say, “inevitable destruction” I’m referring to the eventual exit of my brother and myself, the exit that we hold sacred in a western-capitalistic society as a necessary aspect of life, college. Chairs have played a pivotal role in our lives, from our birth into this world and our transition into our current standings as members of society, yet we choose not to acknowledge it. These long-forgotten background characters of history deserve recognition, or at least a mention of their unrecognized services to humanity.  

For the purpose of this article, we must clear the air on the prenotions and stigmas surrounding what exactly a chair is. Merriam-Webster defines a chair as “a seat typically having four legs and a back for one person”. This is the typical definition, likely created to represent the tangible object that we sit on and call a “chair”. Personally, I prefer the commonly British verb of “chairing” that is, “to carry on the shoulders in acclaim”. Think back to your childhood, your mother/father/guardian chairing you about on their shoulders, proudly displaying you to the world while simultaneously bringing the immense joy and bliss often associated with childhood. This is what the experience of a chair should be held to the standard of. An argument could be made that the purpose of a chair is to be forgotten, maybe slightly uncomfortable, to focus on the task on hand. That opinion is reserved for ‘the miserables’ of the world, those who struggle to find the joy and the childhood innocence of life.  

Additionally, we will (controversially) expand upon less standard “chairs”: various benches, and even the floor will be accounted for in this all-inclusive and thorough critique of Bel Air High School’s wild chair collection. Certain chairs however may not be accounted for, if they were bought with personal funds and do not reach the quota of consideration for a “school chair” (only one or two present on grounds), or even the cool chairs (and couches) that some teachers either dragged out of their basement or found on the side of the road.  


Stop for a minute and imagine the brainchild of an unimaginative cubical restricted designer… what would it look like? It would look like the atrocity that is the “Classic Wood Library Chair.”  Somehow as unimaginative as it is ugly, this piece of furniture should only furnish the deepest pits of hell. After five minutes your back and lower back side not only beg for forgiveness from this crime against humanity, but you feel an overwhelming urge to throw the chair through the fishbowl of a copier room behind you.

1.5/5 stars 


If there is a reason humanity is pushed back into the dark ages, I blame this designer. While equally as unforgiving, they are taller and a few of them unexpectedly spin. All the kind words and thoughts in the previous review translate equally to this one as well.

2.35/5 stars 


If there is only one sentence to describe these chairs, it’s promoting a collaborative work environment. While that sounds like a sentence littered with corporate buzz words (and it is), it’s truthfully the best way to describe these. These are easily some of the most comfortable chairs in Bel Air High School, hence the name “COMFY CHAIR”.

3.6/5 stars. 


These high-status-caster-bound-constructs of cloth and wood are rationed carefully around the school, just to be sure you don’t see to much of them. These are the executives of the school, the hidden power behind the inner workings of HCPS, and possibly the world. With an innumerable number of levers and switches as to adequately support and cradle the user, this is sure to be the sitting experience of a lifetime. While I keep asking myself why we must reserve these chairs for lifeforms only higher than ourselves (library aids), it’s only recently that I’ve concluded that we only yearn for what we are not worthy.

4/5 stars.  


While much of this article is satirical, if there is one quote that’s serious it’s this, I would’ve gone down the tech pathway if it wasn’t for these stools. I’m convinced that the sheer discomfort they caused to me and to my back took years off my life. If I searched the entirety of the English language to find a word that positively described these, I would not find it, for it does not exist. In addition to the tech classes, these stools can be discovered waiting menacingly in a few of the science classrooms, waiting to ruin your day and future.

0/5 stars. 


Painfully disillusioned, ignorant, and foolish; these are all words that describe the people that believe these to be the best chairs on school grounds. To those people I say: raise your expectations. These are average, or as many students would say, “mid”. These chairs lack, not only the character, but the spirit of a chair. Yes, these are functional, they do their job, however, these are nothing more than tricked-out versions of the 4-Legged Blue Chair. Similarly, to the review below, this rating only exists due to their functionality.

2/5 stars.  


There is not a single word to describe these that hasn’t already been used by the at least 10,000+ students that have attended Bel Air High School since 2009. I would rather take a spoon and scrape the layer of scum on the bottom of the inside of the dumpsters than subject our student body to these chairs The idea of an ergonomic chair isn’t unattainable or even difficult- yet they found a way to produce such a chair. I’ve been told by multiple teachers that these chairs were intended to be too heavy to toss and have too wide of legs to tip backwards. Both features, as our student body has proven, are completely inadequate for their intended performance.  

These chairs are our standard, and while I’m by no means expecting a Nightingale or Herman Miller experience out of these things- we should at least have some level of self-respect, hold ourselves to some standard. These chairs are only getting a few stars due to the abuse they endure as well as the functionality they have proven themselves adequate for.

3/5 stars. 


In an age of impatience and technology, there is little left in this world to return us to simpler times. When I say similar times, I’m referring to the paleolithic period that ended 10,000-40,000 years ago. While, yes, things have improved, we now live past the age of 18 and eat birds without the fear of contracting a deadly disease; however, we have become so consumed in ourselves that we forget to see what we came from. 

Luckily our ancestors in the year 2009 foresaw this dilemma and gave us “the floor.” Since in most places it’s made of linoleum, it’s hard enough to be mistaken for a rock– bringing us back to our almost-lost paleolithic roots.

5/5 stars.  


I pity those stuck in their middle school tendencies, stuck in the past, unable to move on. Grades 6-8 tend to be the toughest (emotionally) out of the K-12 standard, victims of their own emotional unreadiness.   You see these children every day, running to the little blue booths that line the wall of the cafeteria, their immaturity radiant.  

Either way, I thoroughly enjoy sitting in these booths, promoting a sense of intimacy with your adjacent friends, promoting shut-off conversation, and allowing for the exclusion of your other friends by claiming, “Sorry ____, there’s no more space!”

3.2/5 stars.  


As mentioned in an article previously published this year, Bel Air High School does have a courtyard. This may seem obvious to you and some of your peers, however many students have yet to recognize its very existence. Because of this inattention by students, the numerous types of chairs and benches present in said courtyard will be placed under this umbrella review.  

*note that the “ENTRENCE BENCHES” are also present in the courtyard- they will be excluded from this review* 

The idea of a lunch outdoors, on a sunny-spring day is one fantasized by architects; perhaps that was the sole intention of the builders of this institution. This is further perpetuated by the series of benches and tables with built-in chairs materialized in the courtyard. Truly the only comparable building with this level of outside integration that I can think of, is the Apple Park in Cupertino, California.  

These chairs (especially the blue chair/table combo) induce feelings of nostalgia, perhaps a picnic in the park with your parents. 

1.8/5 stars. 


It’s March 18th, 2013. It’s raining in Bel Air; you realized that after your mother instructed you to wear your preferred dark-blue rain boots rather than your sneakers. She hands you a cold waffle as you are mushed through the front door- she has already opted to take her now 2-year-old Honda Pilot in lieu of your morning walk to the bus stop. Slowing at the bottom of the hill, you peek out from behind the passenger seat, and the bus seems greyer than usual. She doesn’t walk you to the bus door, you are hurriedly kicked out of the car. You almost become the laughingstock of the bus while slipping up the mud-covered stairs, the peanut gallery that materialized from the previous two stops, stares in snooty dismay. Maybe it’s the stupid boots your mom made you wear.  

You sit down on the right side of the bus, three seats from the farthest back. Your neighbor isn’t here to talk to you, or she would tell you how stupid your boots are. On the cusp of tears, you sit on your red L.L.Bean backpack, stitched with your initials, with accompanying lunchbox. Patches of faded yellow pass through your view, of now wilted daffodils. The smell of wet mildewy bus-seat infiltrates your nostrils, somehow setting you at ease while simultaneously angering you.

It’s only in recapping the experiences of your childhood do you realize how miserable you were. Your emotional wreckage is encapsulated in the form wet leather bus seats, giving you yet another reason to feel angry, yet still nostalgic.

4/5 stars. 


[To fully comprehend the weight of this last review, please watch Seal’s 1994 video, Kiss from a Rose.] 

“My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen…” (Seal, 1994) While not easily visible by the mortal eye, this chair emits a theoretical luster. Sitting in the mere presence of this chair is enough to make you unable to enunciate the most basic of English words- a language that cannot begin to describe this chair adequately. Not the flashiest, nor the most comfortable; this chair prides itself in other (less-often looked at) categories.  

I am serious when I say that I cannot physically capture the emotions that race through my mind when even looking at these chairs- perhaps an overwhelming sense of complacency and contentment. I feel at ease when in its mere presence.  

There are only two other inanimate objects in the world that invoke similar feelings- a lukewarm bowl of soup and the 2007 Pixar film, Ratatouille. We will focus on the latter in the concluding paragraphs. Before my attendance at Bel Air High School, I had not seen one, and yet I felt (and even when writing this review) a wave of nostalgia when focusing on this chair. Maybe the beauty is found in the simplistic structure. Perhaps I only have this opinion because this is the most “chair” looking chair I have come across.

5/5 stars.  


In the production of this article, I have undergone a series of emotions that (for me) have never been remotely associated with chairs. I have laughed, cried, and read this article in an extremely monotone and depressed tone aloud to friends and family. My own mother looked at me with a face plastered with appall and disappointment, mainly due to my description of wet leather bus seats. However, the truth must be told, and someone must have the courage to undermine the task of reviewing every chair.

Quoting one of the finest critics of French culture, Anton Ego, “…there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.” In this movie Ratatouille, we see the development of a harsh critic and his very evolution into someone that just enjoyed food- rather than seeing it as a chore.  

At the beginning of this essay, I had harsh opinions of what a chair was, and rigid expectations. I was a judge rather than an observer, letting my prenotions and own prejudice against chairs absorb me. It is my only hope that you evolved alongside me, while reading through this critique.  

My final thoughts for the chairs of this institution are as follows: who are we to judge what has already been decided for us? These chairs aren’t going anywhere… for the next few decades. Our children and their peers will sit in these chairs. Someone was given the responsibility to hand-pick these chairs for the next few generations; a responsibility beyond our comprehension, one that many of us would do unsuccessfully. These chairs are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like the sands of an hourglass …so are the chairs of our lives.