When an academic says s/he is looking for a chair, you might naturally assume that s/he seeks promotion. Once you become a full professor, there is no promotion other than administration, perks, money or prestige. A desire to avoid administration being one of the things that often attracts people to the Ivory Tower, academics who are not content with their lot and don't want to be Deans usually go hunting for perks, money, or prestige. And the thing in academe that wraps them up in one package is a “Chair” — a title and usually some perks or money.
As it happens, however, I'm not looking for that sort of chair (not that I'd reject it if it came looking for me) — and a good thing it is too, as we only have two chairs here at UM and they are earmarked for lateral hires. No, I'm looking for the sort of chair you sit in.
I have a very nice desk chair. Or rather I had one. One day I came home and the back was broken. (Not broken as in in two pieces, but broken in that the main support snapped and it no longer stays upright when you lean back.) The children deny everything. There is no dog or other large pet. It is vaguely conceivable that I leaned back once too hard or once too often and broke it myself, although I sort of think this is the kind of thing even I might notice about my environment. In any case, there seems no point finding anyone to blame. The chair is broken. I need a new one.
Due to past bouts with carpal tunnel, I have fairly particular ergonomic requirements. I suppose I could get another chair like the one I had before, but it isn't sold in stores, being marketed by mildly sleazy salespeople who sell to the 'physically challenged'. I'd prefer not to deal with them. And the back wasn't the first part to fail; various knobs and stuff whose purpose I never fully understood have fallen off over the years. It was a nice chair, but didn't seem worth the huge sum I paid for it.
So, in the next day or two, I'm going downtown to do some trial sitting.