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Announcement a minus 5 on scale of 1 to 10

“I can’t go on like this!”

The comedic confession came at a fitting place — the kitchen table, a likely location for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, the kitchen table traditionally has been the place where discussions of great and small magnitude have unfolded and occurred throughout the years.

It’s been the setting for the exchange of information, enlightenment, education, entertainment, pep talks, reality checks, “deep discussion,” plotting and planning, you name it.

That’s not to mention that we actually do a little eating there on the table now and again, too. Imagine that.

And the kitchen table itself factored into what was on my mind, very much relevant to the topic at hand, the reason for my announcement that “I can’t go on like this.”

To my family and company seated around me, in various stages of downing dippy eggs and bacon, I said with equal parts authority and relief — “Ladies and gentlemen and everyone else — no more vinyl tablecloths will be on this kitchen table in the future — no more cloth tablecloths either, for that matter. I’m sick of them all! I’ve had it! Enough!”

The words no sooner left my mouth then a feeling of extreme liberation came over me, save for the plastic sunflower tablecloth bunching up and sticking to my elbows that I had tried to raise for emphasis.

Even so, I felt empowered. Pretty much.

“No more coasters either,” I threatened, waving a few in the air.

“And no more plastic placemats that are always crumby and sticky,” I forged ahead.

“From now on, it’s a naked table, my peeps.”

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being super duper, off the charts, startling, world-altering news, this ranked about minus 5 among my guests who offered mixed but mild reactions.

My oldest brother, for instance, just shook his head and suppressed a smile, convinced his baby sister still has a reservoir of silly she can’t possibly exhaust in one lifetime.

Others raised eyebrows in mid-chew, reaching for some jelly for their toast. Radical.

But to me this marked a pivotal moment in my adulthood as one who has invested a lot of energy being part of the unofficially official kitchen table protection squad.

Like those who cover their “good couch” with plastic for posterity, the kitchen table squad is on a similar mission, I suppose — to keep something nice.

Hence the vinyl tablecloths. And coasters. And placemats. I seem to have a small fortune amassed in all of these, all for the sake of keeping the dark wood table that’s quite lovely to look at all covered up and out of view.

What a shame.

I rather like the sight of it.

Keeping it covered up is no longer a pursuit that interests me, I have decided.

I am no longer enrolled in that school of thought, that my table needs watching after.

I’m weary of those table pads, too, that are supposed to hold the tablecloth in place but don’t always work right for me.

I am forever straightening the tablecloth back in place or lining up placemats when my OCD kicks into high gear.

I figure we’re all pretty much adults who can be careful around a naked table.

And if not, I guess the table will be the setting yet again for another reality check.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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