Don’t Move and No One Gets Hurt

Posted on 02.02.08 3:43PM under The Everglades Room

“Don’t move and no one gets hurt!” Always loved that line when I was a kid, whether delivered by a bank robber, burglar or generic bad guy, no matter the context or medium. I loved it so much it stayed in my head without my knowing it, falling out years later onto the lead sheet for the only dance song I ever wrote, a wry little number called “Do the Nothing.” It was the mid-Seventies and disco was refusing to die, obstructing my band’s progressive rock career (we were recording songs like “U Thant, the Beatles and Me,” while everybody else was bumming a ride to Funkytown).

Years later, I figured out what the line really meant. I hate moving – whether moving to a new place or merely rearranging the furniture – because moving hurts.

First there’s the psychic pain from getting so attached to whatever I get used to that I can’t bear to change it. Then there’s the unpacking, which can take me years. I’ve got boxes that stayed packed through three (3) moves (lawyers love to spell out numbers and put numerals in parentheses, even if it comes across as pompous and condescending). I’ve even got an old Fender Vibrolux guitar amp in storage, marked with the address it was being moved to twenty-three (ahem, 23) years ago.

Not to mention the physical pain of moving, usually felt in the shoulders, lower back and foot (after dropping a heavy object on it). Fortunately, I’m a professional, having spent a summer in high school working for a moving company. The experience taught me that professional movers don’t lift anything they can roll. Unfortunately, civilians don’t possess the rolling gizmos movers use, which leaves us “bugger-luggin” heavy objects, as my father used to say when a shipment of batteries arrived at his auto parts store.

None of this fazes my wife one bit. When we met, she proudly told me she moved every year and a half. I’ve slowed her down a little, like a house-arrest collar around her ankle. But she can’t be stopped, and even when we’re stationary and settled, she’s usually thinking about moving things around. I always react the same way, with a well-reasoned argument why we should do (the) nothing. It only ever buys time, usually enough to get over the shooting pains I feel when she suggests the kitchen’s too small, so we should blow out the downstairs and live in a trailer for six months.

Complicating matters is the under-reported, highly infectious HGTV Syndrome, which appears to have taken over the minds of all the women (and most of the men) I meet. Forget about Tom Cruise and celebrity science-fiction faith-based ravings, this thing is dangerous! Not a day passes without over-my-head confabs on fabric, colors or lighting. What little spare time my wife has at day’s end is spent watching shows like “Pimp My Crib, So I Can Flip It,” provoking questions I can’t answer about spaciousness, airiness or the dread feng shui. That’s not to say I’m anything but grateful for her winning efforts to make lovely places to live. I know the alternative.

Left to my own devices, I’d have a joint furnished by inertia and accident in the found-object school of decor (rather like Benjy’s office in Landmark Status). Comedian Rita Rudner used to do a joke about single men living like bears with furniture. It’s a fair cop. Please don’t make me move, and don’t take a shovel to my hovel. I like my boxes right where they are.

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Alan H. Rolnick has practiced law in Miami for twenty years, appearing in high-profile civil and not so civil cases, after putting himself through a music career by working at the New York Times. His first novel, Landmark Status, has received ecstatic reviews without resort to the scandalous pictures in his publicist’s safe. He provides trenchant social commentary without warning, and is Executive Producer of the independent film Canvas. To learn more, visit his website or email

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