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No. Before you even ask. No. You have a plan forming, and I see through it. No. I don’t trust that look in your eye. No. No.

No. I will not help you to move.

It’s not that I don’t care or understand how hard it is to move. Honestly, it’s the worst. The reason I can’t help you move is that to do so would violate my terms of service. I know I can be pretty stubborn, but if you peel back all the layers, the core value that runs everything, the constant deep within me that steers this vessel forwards, is my promise and oath that I will never help anyone move again in my life.

As I hope you can imagine, I did not develop this tenet lightly.

This isn’t a case of me being lazy or indifferent to your upcoming physical struggle. Like all things great and true, my “WILL NOT MOVE FRIENDS” doctrine was built over time and repetitive actions, each strengthening its internal hold.

There was the time I moved a friend who needed to evacuate his apartment after a fire in his building (his stuff was mostly unharmed). Of course, our community of friends sprang into action, loading trucks, taking instructions, and maneuvering in, out, and around debris from the fire. It was easy to be motivated to help a friend who was mired in some bad luck, and the pizza and beer, was the cherry on top.

But hours past the predicted end time—and with our friend rarely lifting or doing anything (he had a cough from the lingering smoke that no one else seemed to be afflicted by)—no one was in the mood to stay for pizzas or beer. And we were 22 years old. Pizza and beer were everything. That’s how bad the experience was.

Dayenu! That would have been enough!

But a few years later when another friend was moving to my neighborhood and “needed a hand for just a couple of things,” I agreed to help. Since the fire friend, I had moved to a new place and hired movers, still scarred from the last experience and not wanting to alienate friends.

This time, my friend had borrowed someone’s pickup truck and all we needed to do was pick up a couch from a store and get it into his new apartment. This sounded infinitely better than the prior experience: there was already a plan and a concrete ask, and he had to return the truck in a couple of hours.

But mother nature had plans that day too, and she didn’t give a gust what time the truck needed to be returned.

A literal hurricane rolled through D.C. that day, and since we were on the clock, we put on rain coats and covered the couch in a tarp, plopped it in the bed of the truck, and hauled it to his new place. It was a wet affair, but we communicated well and shared the load and felt good about the effort.

But geometry had plans that day too.

It was a very busy day for my enemies! The now damp couch refused to get into the elevator, no matter how many times we tried, no matter how good we were at puzzles, and no matter if we tore the tarp up trying every which way. Same went for the stairwell, since I’m sure you were wondering.

So now the couch had to be re-tarped, (the only thing worse than tarping something, is retarping something) and brought back out into the hurricane, and driven back to the store. I would tell you more about the return policy of a twice-hurricaned couch, but I am pretty sure I sat in the truck, incensed at myself for ever agreeing to do this. My heart shrunk three sizes that day.

After that day, my no moving policy was pretty well conceived and plotted, but one more time, it was tested.

My girlfriend was moving in with me and she only lived two blocks away. Easy, right? “It’ll only be a couple trips,” I was assured. “I don’t even have that much stuff,” she vowed.

It was more than a couple trips, and she did have that much stuff. Whatever cost we saved in movers, we lost in good feelings. What was supposed to be a big, exciting, fun step was actually many many small, heavy, exhausting steps.

And now here we are. Married, still and living in the same place, still. Yeah we love each other and all that stuff, but mostly we hate moving.

But now when I say “Never again, I mean it.”

Hire movers. I have done it, and you should too. You reach a certain age where you realize that the cost of movers is always going to be worth it. Because you won’t have to inevitably piss off friends and loved ones. Because you won’t have to pivot furniture around corners. Because you won’t have to worry about all of the small things or the large forces of nature that smell your vulnerabilities and pounce. And because everyone you know can get pizza and beer delivered thanks to their phones.

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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