A better night’s sleep on a memory foam mattress

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by Anne Fitzgerald

E’s old bed was made of stones and glass and bricks and sandpaper and springs and barbed wires and very small rocks and churches and a duck, and it was pretty much awful. It squeaked when you turned over or made any sudden movements at all, really, and it sagged in the middle and no one, but no one, could get a restful night’s sleep on it. Well, I got a restful night’s sleep on it, all the time, because I can pretty much sleep through anything at all if I am horizontal and I have got a pillow. The dogs slept on it fine, too. They just wanted warm bodies and to be tucked in because they are extremely spoiled.

But E was miserable, and woke up with a hurting back and hip every morning, and it was not pleasant generally to lie on and cuddle in and it was just an old, ugly creaky bed that needed replacing, badly. He had gotten it from Guatemalans next door some number of years ago, and it was already some number of years old, and I was fully in favor of ditching it and burning it and then burying the ashes, and even offered to help pay for the replacement bed, which with our combined resources could have a pillow top and be made of diamonds! He was not down with this idea–either the diamonds or the pillow top.

It was the stuff of many discussions. By which I mean I said but (insert very rational and brilliant argument that would sway the angels and make them weep), and he said no. But–No. He was dead set on getting a temper-posture-space-age memory foam kind of bed thing that is supposed to heal the sick and bring joy to the lonely and hatch puppies and give best man toasts at weddings and sing. I have heard nothing but terrible things about beds made of foam, things about rotting and sinking and becoming filled with bugs and mold and moldy bugs and swamp water and pigeons. He challenged my declarations. “Where’d you hear that?” he said. “Sources!” he demanded. It turned out I had none. But I had a very bad feeling! Wasn’t it enough that I had a very bad feeling?

Not enough. We went to Costco, where they sell beds, and there it was–a temper-posture-space-age memory foam bed, queen-sized, bundled up in a tiny little box. How the heck do they do that? Squish it down to envelope size? It was amazing, and extremely space age. I believed that this bed was from the future and made with science, and I thought that well, maybe I would consider the possibility of perhaps giving it a chance, this bed of research and industry, and perhaps it would, in fact, cure cancer in baby lemurs and make the blind see.

I was not there to see him unleash the bed, but by all accounts it sprung from its box like Athena from the head of Zeus, all impressive, and nearly put everyone’s eyes out. The bed is about three times as thick as the mattress of doom, and the sheets don’t fit very well on it, but that night E crawled into bed, pulled the blankets to his chin, and sacked right the heck out amidst the weird chemical smell of the foam, which I assumed was what made him think he had the greatest night of sleep he’d ever had ever in the history of nights, and sleeping, and greatness. I was skeptical. I slept over the next night, and crawled in with extreme trepidation.

Oh my god, I said. It feels like pudding. Like thick, greasy pudding. It is wonderful pudding, E said. Just lie down. Lie down and feel the pudding. I laid down, and I sunk straight into the earth. It’s kind of–cradling me, I said. It’s interesting. Yes! E would have said, except he was already asleep with his mouth open.

When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised to find that I had not been smothered to death by the memory foam creeping up over my body and swallowing me whole. In fact, I would venture to say that I had had a good night’s sleep. A pleasant one. A ridiculously comfortable one, okay? Memory foam is comfortable, and I am sad when I go home to my own bed. I am holding out, though–I might not be entirely wrong. It absolutely could still rot or become filled with small fishes or green mold or just spontaneously disintegrate into its component molecules. And then I will expect an apology.

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