The Oval Office goes frat house chic

John Schlimm Contributor
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So, no lie (well, sort-of), a friend shows me a photograph and asks, “Can you tell me what this is a picture of?”

DUH, it’s clearly a room.  Sure, I recognize it. “It’s our senior lounge from high school,” I reply.  “That was so cool.  People donated their old couches, chairs, and coffee tables for that room.”

“No, it’s not the senior lounge,” my friend replies with a smirk.

“Really?  Ok then…um…Oh yeah, it’s the living room in my first off-campus apartment in college.  I remember now.  We got those two big old couches from the Salvation Army; we found those chairs on the street; I picked the lamps up at Goodwill for like a buck a-piece; and I think one of my roommates brought that coffee table from home when his parents re-did their basement.”

“Nope.” my friend says, smiling.  “Give up?”

“No, not yet.  One more guess…”  I ponder, studying the picture a little closer.  “Wait a minute…Is that the presidential seal on the carpet?  No, it can’t be.  No way…This can’t be the…CAN IT?”

Yes, indeed, the Oval Office just underwent a nip/tuck, giving new literal meaning to the term “design on a dime” (and we thought Heidi Montag’s makeover was botched).

It’s unclear who the interior decorating whiz is who spearheaded this “family-friendly” design (of the most powerful office in the universe!) while the Obama Family was away on vacation, but I suggest they head for the border fast.  For starters, they fell a tad short in rounding out their apparent frat house chic theme, missing the most important accessories:  A big screen TV, circa. 1995; a portable fridge filled with beer; and a few guys with names like Otter, Bluto, Stork, and D-Day lounging around in their underwear, skipping class and playing video games.

Seriously though, I have no doubt the President wants to be comfy in the one place he spends most of his time, but I fear this new décor (or perhaps we need to go with “new digs” here) may pose multiple security risks:

ONE: Judging from those over-stuffed couches, President Obama risks losing half his cabinet in the cracks between the seat cushions, along with his spare change and snack crumbs.

TWO:  The Brady Bunch is going to be none too happy when they come looking for their missing kitchen tiles that were used to make that coffee table.

THREE:  Jackie Kennedy spinning in her grave over this won’t necessarily affect Mr. Obama, BUT, if, GOD FORBID!!!, the very-much-alive Nancy Reagan catches a glimpse of this, the White House better batten down the hatches and brace itself!

To say the least.

OK, OK, enough with the negative energy.  Maybe the new furniture just doesn’t photograph well.  Therefore, I’m going to look on the bright side of this refurbishing.  After all, if you can’t say anything nice…

The first positive aspect of the room:  The big accent pillows are perfect for late night Oval Office pillow fights with the Secretary of State.

Second positive point: The bowl of apples front and center on the coffee table is functional and practical!  It conjures up that whole “American as apple pie” thing and it offers a healthy snack for visiting dignitaries (and/or first daughters) to munch on in-between peace-making sessions and state dinners.

Third, garage sale entrepreneurs nationwide are about to get a boon in their business as everyone races to redesign their homes so they can keep up with the Obamas.

And, a bonus point of light: The side lamps are a lovely shade of Barbara Bush blue.

Personally though, I’m holding out for the revelation that this was all set up for a special reboot of Punk’d.  Picture it: The Obamas return from Martha’s Vineyard anticipating their beautiful new Oval Office only to look in sheer horror at the third-rate motel lobby arrangement they find.  Then, after a moment or two, and a few heads rolling, Ashton Kutcher jumps out from behind the survivor of this titanic overhaul, the Resolute desk, announcing “You just got PUNK’D, man” while fist-bumping POTUS and FLOTUS.

Laughter all around, and scene.

John Schlimm is a member of one of the oldest brewing families in the United States, meaning he sees life through sudsy, gold-colored glasses. A former celebrity publicist, educator, and artist, John is the award-winning author of several books, including his latest, Harrah’s Entertainment Presents…The Seven Stars Cookbook as well as The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook (named “Best Beer Book in the U.S.” and “Best Beer Book in the World” by the international Gourmand Awards). Join John on Facebook and Twitter.