Physically we were spent before departure, but greatness is rarely achieved being sensible.

Some people believe men are basically useless unless they’re lifting something.

That’s harsh because many men are often useless lifting things too. But we must be doing something right because people keep asking us to lift things.

So the other day, the call went out: a lounge suite had to be picked up from somewhere sooner rather than later, triggering forward motion in our house not seen since the great bushfire evacuation of 2004. Not exactly panic – that came later when the three-seater sofa fell off the roof of the 4×4 – but definitely a sense of purpose.

First of all, a favour had to be asked of an unfortunate mate at short notice. I shudder to think what pleasant expectations this mate had of his day off as he answered the phone. But he responded in the affirmative, perhaps lured by the opportunity for men of valour to join in glorious union to defy gravity and middle age. More likely because he was a good bloke.

That decided, we got into it with gusto, as men of valour do when there’s a lift on.

A monster rack had to be put on top of the 4×4. It’s called a monster rack because it’s monstrously heavy. Nearly heavier than the 4×4 . And it’s amazing how much energy is expended hoisting one onto a roof, back to front first time. Second time I don’t remember much except screaming repeatedly ‘‘You got it? You got it? HANG ON!!!’’

Physically we were spent before departure, but greatness is rarely achieved being sensible.

First thing to do when we arrived at the pick-up spot was to look like we knew what we were doing. That was achieved by reversing into the neighbour’s fence with my rear vision mirror, at speed. Any remaining doubts were erased when my mate attempted to open the back door of the 4×4 by pulling the casing off the number-plate light. I could sense our host thinking ‘‘seasoned removalists’’, and I was pleased.

Next step was to address the lift. Seemingly an innocuous leather lounge; but when engaged, heavier than a war memorial.

The plan, if you could call it that, was to put it on the monster rack of the 4×4. The Egyptians had built pyramids without machines. How hard could it be putting a sofa on a roof? Without an army of slaves, reasonably difficult we discovered. It was hard enough getting the monster rack up there without a slave army! Getting it to the vertical was easy. Achieving lift-off was the catch. Avoiding crush injuries and hernias were other concerns. Don’t really know what went down, but when the red mist cleared, that sucker was up, proving miracles can happen if you strain hard enough.

Now to tie it down. Rope voodoo. Not much method in the madness, but by the time we finished that thing looked like the latest Christo creation.

Not sure whether stepping in dog poo was part of the plan, but I’ll always associate the sweet sensation of rope burn with the heady scent of Fido.

Next, navigate home without stacking it. Rather than a long wide load, we were a short, tall fulcrum.

Best to take the shortest route with the least amount of camber. That’d be ‘‘tilt’’ in layman’s language. One step away from ‘‘roll’’ in the 4×4 disaster handbook.

Once home, the thing had to come off the roof, which gets us back to the panic mentioned earlier.

Again I remember screaming ‘‘you got it, you got it, HANG ON!!!’’ before the sofa slipped off the rack and started inexorably crushing me. As I sagged I recall crying out ‘‘tell the kids I love them’’ and ‘‘I’m melting’’.

Just before asphyxiation, I gave it one last desperate death roll and got a grip. Then we lugged it to the door.

I kid you not, though, after all the guts and glory, when we got it there, the thing didn’t fit.

Who said we’re useless?

Are men basically useless unless they’re lifting something?