It’s not just that the lawn chairs were multiplying, it’s that they were multiplying irrationally, and in a multi-colored way. You didn’t know where they were going to appear, nor why they would appear where they appeared. They simply appeared when they wanted to, often in the worst possible places.
To understand why this was happening, we have to go back. Not only back in time, but back in mindset. For you see, this very institution within which I write these words was built on the backs of lawn chairs, and this lawn chair freedom we so mindlessly indulge in today, well, let’s just say it did not come cheap.
University of Iowa was founded in 1843 by Percy MacBride, one of the first American lawn chair magnates (or magistrates, depending on who’s doing the telling), winner of some of the most devastating pre-Civil War lawn chair wars. Yes, he won. But what was lost? So much. Most of his family. The Deers were bloodthirsty, nearly unbeatable, but Percy beat them, beat them back to lawnmowers, defended his lawn chair turf.
Sadness descends post- any war, and to atone for his sacrifices, MacBride began buying up this land alongside the Iowa River, or as they called it back then, Sloppy Joe. Sloppy Joe was a mess, an upstream dumping ground of industrial waste, but MacBride had plans — first lawn chair domination (check!) and then, next, proper waste cleanup.
When UofI opened its grand, wooden doors, any blue collar Jimmy with enough gumption and enough ownership of speakinwords and handletters to write his own name was given free learning. It was the least MacBride could have done. The community recognized his familial sacrifices in the name of moving industry forward, and MacBride, well, he moved the lawn chair a hundred years into the future in a matter of decades. Never forget, MacBride lawn chair innovations — it’s the damn motto of the school, chiseled into stone.
But he never settled, never found peace. And so they appear, phantasmagorical, these chairs, upon lawns about campus, sporadically and with no warning, multicolored as Percy would have liked (as he was moving towards — Just lemme live to see them colors! it is said he said into the empty room on his death bed). They appear, remain unused, and then, are gone. Just like that. Poof. Mystical. Thank you Percy. They live on for you. Never forget, we shant.