You have come to me for a design. But you do not fully grasp my narrative context, my postmodern niche, my dinette oeuvre. Let me enlighten you. Superficially, I am a designer of home furnishings. But in the klieg-lit world of my imagination I rule a land where creative SWAT teams smash the doors of timid “usefulness,” forcing its wretched occupants face-first onto their disgusting utilitarian floors. Yes, I dominate design. I conquer it. I capture it with my lasso and keep it in a corral of my own elaborate and inherently faulty construction. I am the king of design—a cowboy king, if you will.

My designs will challenge you to question your environment, even as you wonder why nothing really works. My chairs hang from walls. My spoons are convex. My knife blades are dull, while their handles are studded with tiny razor-sharp ninja stars. My soup bowls are cubes (locate the side with the faint indentation before serving), and my plates re-create the precise dimensions of the Marduk ziggurat of Babylon.

My designs will not bow to the limitations the unimaginative mind places on everyday objects. Yes, an unimaginative mind much like your own. Otherwise, why would you implore me to construct your bathtub using conventional materials? You betrayed your mindless attachment to function when you insisted that the tub hold water.

Let us give my proposal another look. A bathtub constructed solely of chicken wire—do you deny the brilliance of this statement? (The live chickens are a masterstroke.) From its very essence, the tub proclaims my manifesto. It shouts, “Free yourself from the domineering rule of simplistic function! Do not be a slave to barren utility! Avoid stepping on the chickens!” Join in its cries as you preen beneath the showerhead’s thin high-pressure stream, with its convenient preset temperature: scalding.

You shrink from this proposal. Will you allow yourself to be tyrannized by an object, insisting on naive, pathetic functionality? If anyone is going to play tyrant around here, it’s me. And my designs.

Surely we can bridge this impasse. Please, sit on my sofa. It’s a daring experiment in comfort and trauma-induced dementia. Even as its rich rare Italian leather invites you, the motion-sensitive titanium spikes now piercing your thighs defy you to ignore it. In the coming weeks, as you battle the infection, the excruciating experience will continue to resonate, a painful reminder of the role of design in your life.

My designs are more than mere furnishings. Each is a commitment. No, more than a commitment—a contract. Really, you must sign this contract, agreeing to a mere dozen or so statutes and subsequent clauses in the use and display of my work.

Now that we’ve established a formal business relationship, let me charm you with this amusing anecdote. One brazen client questioned why my chairs had only three legs. He prattled on about “falling over.” Boorish dullard! I insist that you remain alert and balanced, never relaxing into the deadly complacency of poor, uninspired design. He also had the temerity to ask why my chairs lacked arms. Arms, when I had lavished on his chairs row upon row of chanting animatronic heads! How this benighted fool ever lived to be 87 is beyond me. And broken hips are not my responsibility, as the contract clearly states.

I can see that you find my eyewear disturbing. No, it’s completely harmless, I assure you. The silver prongs that keep my eyelids pried apart are forged from surgical steel. I refuse to close my eyes to the designs around me, and I insist that my clients do the same. You’ll get used to the prongs in no time.

As my client, you must meet some additional requirements, including the attendance of my six-week indoctrination camp. I refuse to think of you as a consumer. I prefer the word “disciple.” Yes, again the contract—you agreed to change your full name to “Disciple.” And to wear only this diaphanous smock. And to limit urination to once a day. Disgusting habit.

Now, Disciple, fetch my evening cape and Stetson, for we must embark upon our promenade. You’ll find on your headgear a small metallic ring for attaching the leash. Bark, Disciple, bark! Ha, my little joke. You needn’t bark. But you do need your wallet.

Let us pray that our senses are not assailed by an excess of hideous, intellectually insulting, absurdly functional design. It drives me to a raging, sadistic frenzy. At the crack of my whip, Disciple—onward! And please carry my Chihuahua. His little blown-glass chaps make it impossible for him to walk.