Opinion: Sitting pretty

Commentary by Dick Wolfsie

What has happened to the art of sitting? People nowadays don’t just sit; they have to be doing something like emailing, reading or watching TV.

When I was young, people in my New York City suburb sat on their front porch, but they were mostly protecting their valuables or waiting for the police to arrive.

English manors had sitting rooms. People did a lot of yakking to each other while they were sitting, conversing about the murder that just occurred in the garden or speculating about why the downstairs maid was spending so much time upstairs. These were talking rooms, not sitting rooms.

Sitting isn’t wasting time: It’s how lazy people have made their impact. Hard-working folks didn’t come up with the idea for the backhoe, the chainsaw and the snow blower. No, it was the sluggish and indolent solving the world’s problems while completely at rest.

Cracker Barrel Restaurant has tried to bring back sitting as an art form, lining their front porches with sturdy rocking chairs. Instead of sitting in them, though, people are staring at the price tags or complaining about the 30-minute wait for the meatloaf special. Many Cracker Barrel customers sport suspenders and dangle toothpicks from their mouths. This is sit waiting to happen.

Part of the charm of sitting on a porch is publicly displaying that you have the time to just park your rear in a chair. No bills to pay, chores to do or places to go. You can’t flaunt this in private. If word got out you were in your bedroom staring at the walls, the neighbors would set up crisis intervention. But sit on your front step and gaze into space with a slight smirk, and there is immediate neighborhood speculation about an unexpected inheritance, or about you and the new UPS driver.

Sometimes, I sit in my driveway in a beach chair and wait for my wife to get home. When my neighbor Charlie sees me, he grabs a stool from his garage and plants himself next to me. Then he wants to chat endlessly about politics. Lately, I’ve mustered up the nerve to tell Charlie I’d rather be alone.

Some people just don’t sit well with me.

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Go to Indyfringe.org to see times and dates  for Dick’s six performances of “The Art of the Jewish Joke.”

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