In the next few months, we can expect a flurry of Obama Administration retrospectives—what it was like to work in the Obama White House; who met with the president; what the administration achieved. But I’d bet one thousand dollars that one vital member of the team, one who has been there through it all, will be ignored: Obama’s odd Oval Office coffee table.
The modern table, designed by Roman Thomas, is actually made of mica, but looks like it could be made of newspaper clippings, or fabric patchwork. It is droll and squat and makes absolutely no sense. Sometimes it has a bowl of apples on it, and sometimes it doesn’t. It looks like it could be in the outdoor section of a Home Depot, or like a wallpaper option in the Sims. It is always around, even when we’d prefer it replace itself with something wooden or glass. It has met every world dignitary, without bragging to his family or the press. After Obama leaves office, it will be replaced by something gold and terrible, and will never be honored. This is so sad.
Let’s all raise a glass to this odd, infinity-edge hunk of stone—it has the patience of a saint and the sturdiness of a sailor, and it has never gotten the recognition it deserves.Here is the table earning some pocket money as a babysitter for the children from the documentary “Waiting for Superman.” Image via Getty. Here is the table being disrespected by a gaggle of press. Image via Getty. Here is the table meeting the Pope in September 2015. Here is the table watching Obama work. Image via Getty. WHERE IS IT, HOLY SHIT, CALL THE POLICE. Image via Getty. Here is the table with German President Joachim Gauck in October, 2015, holding THREE DRINKS and THREE NAPKINS and ONE NOTEBOOK. Image via Getty. Here is the table pretending to be a bed for a boom mic in July 2016. Image via Getty. “I’ve gathered you all here to discuss this table and why it is how it is.” September 2016. Image via Getty. Here is the table holding a bowl of apples and two notebooks while it meets NASA astronaut Scott Kelly in October 2016. Image via Getty. Here is the table holding a bowl of apples and meeting the President-elect, the man who will eventually return him to irrelevance.