August 18, 2000
I've been having trouble in bed lately.
No, don't go sending me to your doctor for
viagra or monkey glands, and oysters aren't going to do me much
You see, the trouble actually is my bed.
Eighteen years ago I graduated from university
and took my first full-time job in another city. Before I left
I decided to buy a queen-sized bed for my new adult bachelor
life. I had hoped never to have to answer the question: "What's
a nice boy like you doing with a queen-sized bed?" Unfortunately
my mother took one last teary look in the van before I pulled
away from the curb. Her tears dried instantly as I drove off
to whatever Sodom and/or Gomorrah was my final destination.
I was of course young and full of unrealistic
expectations. I fully expected to attend a ceremony at the Playboy
Mansion later that year to have my mattress bronzed and presented
Like I said, I was young and unrealistic.
In fact I was so unrealistic that eighteen years later I was
still sleeping on the same mattress.
Last summer my wife and I had to buy a new
mattress for the cottage. Not only were we a little queasy about
sleeping on the one left behind by the previous owners, every
time you laid down on it, it gave off a smell like BBQ potato
chips. Our neighbour later confirmed it had been salvaged when
the previous owner's house had burned down.
So we bought a new mattress for the cottage.
Bad mistake. After sleeping on it the mattress at home felt like
it was full of door knobs. I had even become used to sleeping
in the shape of an 'S' to avoid the larger springs and lumps,
but after eighteen years I had to admit there were now more lumps
than mattress under me.
So off we went to shop for a new mattress.
Bed stores are like car dealerships. The big,
expensive models are right up front, decorated and made up under
soft lighting. The cheaper mattresses are shoved against the
back wall, lit up by lights that used to sit on top of the Berlin
Wall. There are no expensive sheets or fluffy pillows. These
are mattresses that look like they should be adorning the floors
of youth hostels or the walls of looney bins.
Whatever it was, it worked. We moved into
the middle of the mattress lot and found a mis-matched set that
only cost six times what my old one had.
Then we talked extras. On the counter was
a giant picture of a dust mite, and they asked if we wanted "bio-spray"
to kill the little beggars. This is the mattress equivalent of
Finally we got it home and set up. It fit
the old bed frame perfectly, except for one thing. We didn't
measure it for height. Who measures a mattress for height? Our
new super-fluffy mattress means when we go to sleep, we're now
four feet off the ground. I can't reach the box of tissues on
the floor without a safety harness. At least I can turn off the
light by just reaching up and unscrewing the bulb in the ceiling.
And my love life? Who can think of fooling
around when the air's so thin up here?