I Am Jack’s Umlaut


In a favorite book of mine, Fight Club (more popular for the Brad Pitt movie, but awesome book none the less), the narrator is a man who becomes consumed with changing obsessions throughout the story.  One of the passing obsessions is to decorate his house with products from the IKEA catalog.  For those who don’t know IKEA, its a sorta-Scandinavian boxed household furnishings store.  Many of their products you buy and you have to assemble from a box, a never complete set of hardware, and a set of instructions you hope is translated from Norwegian (or Swedish, or Danish, or whatever that thing is with the dots above the letters).   This character in the book constantly buys products from IKEA at one point, and seems to keep going back to the catalog to get something else just in an odd attempt to try to improve his life through cheap furniture.

We don’t have an IKEA in Alaska.  I don’t own anything from IKEA.  To be honest, I never been inside of an IKEA.  But I think I am turning into that obsessed guy.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on rounding out the Bear Cave.  I finished moving boxes and sorting out where I want everything a month or two ago, and had brought in a few things to make the place a bit more homey.  Truth is, my house in Wichita was pretty bare compared to what I wanted to do here, and even what I did have just didn’t seem to round out the place.  I’ve been considering heading back to a furniture store where I know a guy, but some things were just stuff to fill corners and floors.  While we don’t have an IKEA, we have Target, Home Depot, Loews, and Wal-Mart.

In the last month, I’ve bought and built an end table, a coffee table, two book cases, a shoe rack, and an entertainment center.  They were all pretty easy to do, and didn’t take more than an hour or two to finish.  They’re cheap too, for the price of one bookshelf I bought at the furniture store I paid for all those things I built on my own.  It’s nothing impressive to build these things – slot A into tab B, drive screw, nail here.  I’d say its nothing to write home about but … look at me … I’m writing home about it.  Truth is, these little things are the key to filling up the gaps in house.  Each thing I finish up makes that shift from a place where my stuff is, to a place where I keep my stuff.

Yet I had moments today when I thought I might become that character from the book.  Wondering if the next thing I will do is make my own soap.  Then maybe start beating the crap out of strangers.  Then Project Mayhem.  Then … well, Helen Bohnam Carter would be a nice step up.


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