Riding around Sun City sitting on a couch in a motorized tricycle he built, resident Jerry Zwack is having a great time, and from the looks of it, those who see him, are too, as they break into smiles and wave at him.
As I spotted him over a week ago while I was on my way back to the office, I couldn’t believe my eyes, a man riding around on a couch. I followed him for several minutes and flagged him down. I had my camera, and I was thinking a photo. When I pulled up behind him, forget the photo, this is a story.
I asked him, “What’s the story with this?” He proceeded to tell me about his wife and her complaining that he’s a couch potato. He said she said, “Why don’t you go outside and do something. You’re nothing but a couch potato.”
Say no more. I got my story a few days later. As it turns out, the whole thing “Started out as a gag ... TV, and the couch, and the trunk and the whole thing; make it look like I’m watching TV,” said Zwack. “When I got it built, turns out it’s really therapeutic for me. Just driving around.”
Zwack invited me to ride with him, and I got to experience firsthand the look on people’s faces. Whether they were in vehicles, walking, in a store parking lot, golf course — it didn’t matter, they all stopped what they were doing to look, smile, and some waved.
I got with the program as I was on the couch, smiled and waved back. It was lots of fun. The day was beautiful and the air felt good hitting my face as we rode.
We pulled into the Sun City Country Club where a group of women from Trilogy in Vistancia, had finished their golf game and were putting their clubs into their cars.
Since there is a TV attached to his couch potato tricycle, Carol Ferrara said, “I wonder if he watches the news?” Followed with, “That’s too funny. He must have a lot of time on his hands.” She thought the TV might have been hooked up.
“I’ve never seen anything like that. I think it’s fun. I don’t think I’d want to ride in it,” said Mary Ann Ambrose. “I just wondered what it was and why he did it.”
Ellie Brown said, “My first impression was he was the new age of homeless people.” After finding out why Zwack did it, she said, “He’s crazy.”
“I think it’s cool and I think it’s very innovative. I don’t think he’s a couch potato at all. I think he’s very ingenious and he’s having a great time, and that’s what’s important,” commented Margaret Conover.
Mary Sievers said, “I think it’s very ingenious. This guy’s got it all together here. He’s got his trunk, he’s got his TV, his couch. Man, I never saw anything like this.”
“I don’t have a real opinon except I don’t want my husband to do it,” said Lora Hemphill. “I’m concerned about safety.”
Darlene Scott thinks it’s ingenious. “Something to do with his time and I like the pieces he’s put together and brought something totally different and unique. I could see a lot of guys doing that.” She said her husband could do it.
Roger and Zorena Anderson of Peoria had just pulled their golf car up to their car. “That’s awesome. It’s one of the most unbelievable pieces of machinery I’ve ever seen,” said Roger.
“I want to know what’s in the trunk” said Zorena, “I think it’s awesome. How could you not? I mean who doesn’t want to ride down the road on a couch.” She asked about the light switch and if it was real leather or pleather?
Zwack kidded that it’s Corinthian leather. As for the light switch, it controls the headlight and tail lights.
As Zwack and I continued our ride, Dale Riemersma of Sun City was in his golf car with his dog Sassy, and they followed us into the parking lot of the Fairway Recreation Center. He wanted to get a closeup look.
Riemersma told Zwack, “I’ve been watching you, run up and down our street there for about two years? I told my brother about you, he was down here from Michigan and he said, ‘no way.’ I said ‘Yep, I’ve seen it.’ I told him ‘I hope he comes by and you see it when you’re here.’ He didn’t get to see it. He said ‘You’ve got to be kidding, a couch for a cart?’”
Zwack said Riemersma always waves at him.
“This is what Sun City is all about. Live your whole life in the rat race, you can start playing again,” said Zwack.
Tina Gamez may be reached at 623-876-2528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.