Help! Desk!

Not that I watch or anything, but on Tuesday’s Amazing Race, the contestants, while charging around Sweden, had to look for “The World’s Largest I-kee-ay store!”—as the male half of the couple referred to as the "married pro wrestlers" put it.

Once inside the giant empty barn, they had to choose between tasks so awful that it made all my worst nightmares come alive: They either had to count pots (2,034 of ’em) or ASSEMBLE A DESK! A desk with a flimsy hutch and two crappy drawers! The genius of Ikea stuff is how it looks once you’ve schlepped it home, incorporated it in your kids’ room or den along with some real furniture, and paid exorbitant amounts to get it assembled so as not to end your marriage. So talk about the world’s worst product placement: Why not give insanely stressed couples a taste of Swedish do-it-yourself hell?

Just seeing the narrow (but several-ton) cardboard box requiring a penknife to split open sent shivers up my spine. And the poor Grandpa and Grandma team couldn’t count the pots for the life of ’em and then had to start over and try assembling the desk!

The winners of the challenge, who, after leaving I-kee-ay, had to pedal a bicycle built for two for miles to a farmer’s field and then find tickets in a haystack, won a seven-night Royal Caribbean Cruise to Mexico. (That must have been all joy compared to—aaaargh!—putting together the particleboard monster with the help of ahem, “international”-style directions.)

As for the losers? Well, anything beats another night assembling shit at Ikea.

—Posted by Barbara Lippert