Tonight, I reached a major life milestone…one I’ve been methodically tracking for years. At just past 10:37 p.m., I completed the assembly of my 100th piece of IKEA furniture.

I humbly submit that IKEA should recognize me with the “Golden Allen Wrench Award.”

I can hear you asking, “One hundred pieces of IKEA furniture? How is that even mathematically possible?” Well, for a little perspective, the room I’m sitting in has twenty IKEA pieces in it ALONE. It looks like an IKEA catalog without the blonde kids. In fact, since IKEA replaced STOR (remember them?) as the Scandanavian furniture house of choice in Orange County, CA, I’ve built (sorry, assembled) more than ten IKEA coffee tables, which tend to have a short shelf life (no pun intended) around our kids.

For the record books, number one hundred was a 15 3/4″ x 11″ x 79 1/2″ Beech finish Billy bookcase (which now stands to the right of the bookcases behind me HERE). Sure, I wish it was something more impressive — such as the final piece of a Malm bedroom set, complete with a 6-drawer chest — but it was what it was. I’ve already paid my dues, and besides, I like Billy. Better still, I can pronounce Billy, which is more than I can say for most of the IKEA product line.

Some of their items tease you by seeming to mimic English words, like Effectiv, Lack, Galant, Kaktus, Urban and Komplement. Others sound like the names of Old Testament characters: Ivar, Akurum, Trevleg, Marek and Husar. And some sound straight out of the Swedish Chef’s Muppet Movie dialog: Klippan, Ribba, Besta and Fordeesiktighidebooja (OK, I made that last one up).

But whether I can pronounce it or not, the stuff’s functional, affordable and quite pervasive in my home. I love the hexagonal Allen wrenches, the silent little cartoon men in the instruction guides, and the meatballs and cinnamon rolls. I also love the song Jonathan Coulton (the Internet’s first pop star and writer/performer of “Code Monkey”) wrote about the place. It’s called (surprisingly enough) “IKEA,” and here’s the chorus:

Ikea: just some oak and some pine and a handful of Norsemen
Ikea: selling furniture for college kids and divorced men
Everyone has a home
But if you don’t have a home you can buy one there

Listen to the whole song HERE (it’s down near the bottom of the download page, on the Smoking Monkey album, between the songs “Kenesaw Mountain Landis” and “I Hate California.” May I mention how fun it was to just write those instructions?)

Read the lyrics HERE.

So even though I’m happily married and it’s been years since I was in college, I’m already making plans for my 200th IKEA piece. Seems as if my wife wants to redo the bedroom again…

craig hodgkins


~ by Craig Hodgkins on August 16, 2007.

4 Responses to “IKEA and ME-A”

  1. This is amazing. Our family is on like #9 I think?


  2. You’re a much younger man than me. Of course, you do have four kids, so just give it time.

  3. I’ve always said that if I lose my job and have to move out of my apartment, I’ll pack up my suitcases and move into one of the mini-homes in IKEA. Actually, I think any of those mini-homes is probably bigger than my apartment. What am I waiting for?

  4. If you dress up in a yellow IKEA logo shirt and dark blue slacks, they may never notice you.

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