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Random Thoughts About Closets, Monoliths, and Stuff

June 27, 2014

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(Warning: before reading the following post, it really helps if you’ve seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, been to IKEA, and don’t mind frivolous randomness.)

I haven’t been to IKEA in years. My wife, sons and I were on a fact-finding mission concerning reasonably priced bedroom furniture.

I’d forgotten the labyrinth-like layout of the place.

Have the employees always dressed in such bright, circus-ish shirts? (Wow! “Circus-ish shirts.” Say that five times really fast!)

I passed the avenue of faucets, and came to an ersatz kitchen. I liked that you could see past the fake ceiling and through to the duct work and support beams beyond. I stood there for awhile and pretended I had x-ray vision. Hey, it’s free entertainment.

My wife, in typical fashion, fell victim to distraction. Pulled off course by her arm linked through mine, I found myself led to an immense, free-standing closet.

“Oh, wouldn’t that look wonderful in our bedroom?” She asked.

“No way!” I said. “Look at this thing. It’s like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

And it did. I mean, check out the photo I posted.

I continued, “I’d wake up every morning with this thing at the foot of my bed, like the scene near the end of the movie, where the guy’s now an old dude (Dr. David Bowman played by Keir Dullea) is on his death bed. I’d feel like it was my time…like I was dying…every morning…or about to morph into an enormous star-child-fetus-thing. I would find either event disconcerting. I’d wake up disconcerted every morning.”

If you’ve never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, you owe it to yourself to watch this over-long classic bit of cinematic history. It’s one of Stanley Kubrick’s best pieces of work, despite the fact that, at times, the plot is incomprehensible, and scenes can be simultaneously fascinating and boring as hell.

I had a friend (I’ll call him Brad) who would become entranced during the famous trip segment. Personally, I could never take that part seriously. To me, it looked like the opening sequence of the Tuesday Night Movie of the Week. I used to watch this show as a kid. They had some pretty good made-for TV movies too. If I’m not mistaken, they ran Steven Spielberg’s first directorial effort, Duel starring Dennis Weaver. (That’s directorial effort in a movie. His first job ever was directing Joan Crawford in a segment of the pilot for Night Gallery.)

Another friend of mine once took a girl to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. About half way through the film, she turned to him and asked, “What happened to the monkeys?” We all thought that was hilarious, so “What happened to the monkeys?” became a catch phrase we all used for years.

So, there I was in the theatre, sitting next to Brad, and enduring the trip sequence. I thought to myself, hey, I’ll ask Brad “What happened to the monkeys?” And there he was, looking at the sequence in open-mouthed awe, like a medieval peasant suddenly whisked through a time portal and introduced to a Playstation 3. I didn’t believe his act then, and I don’t now. Putz.

And now, back to IKEA.

As always, my wife shook her head patiently and walked away. I followed for a little bit, calling out, “Come on, you gotta admit, it’s just like the monolith…” People were looking at me, so I sighed, and looked for an easy chair to sit in where I could wait out this particular store trek.

Finally it was time to leave, and I began to follow the exit signs. It turned out there were 562,000 exit signs as I made my way through a floor plan that had to have been based on the Roman catacombs.

As I walked for what seemed like miles, I wondered how in the heck they go through the place every night to make sure no one is hiding behind a sectional, or something. There are literally countless places to hide. Maybe they scan for thermal radiation. Yeah, that’d work.

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2 Comments
  1. Hilarious. Excellent observation. I used to tell my friends that I had seen that movie at least 25 times. Now it would have to be ‘Deadman.’

    • I’ve probably seen it five or six times, but twenty five? That’s impressive. You’re a better man than I…

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