Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pillow shopping for Ol' Crusty

The local pillow salesman blew it yesterday when he graciously told me I’d be better off going to a mall department store for their big sale.

“Our pillows cost $179,” he said. “ You can get a really good one at Penny’s or Macy’s for just $70.”

Had he known anything about me, he could have steered me straight to the cash register.

I have no qualms about over-spending for things that go on or in my body.

Really, when you think about it, $179 for a pillow is a bargain.

Let’s say I live another measly 10 years. That’s less than half-a-penny a night to sleep with something really classy and soft.

And once again I’m struck by the hooker analogy, the only economic model I can seem to grasp -- even as it’s been years since I’ve done any hooker grasping.

I’m pillow shopping for what I suspect will be the last pillow I’ll ever own.

I don’t remember ever pillow shopping before in my entire life. I may have passed pillow displays in the past, but I don’t recall pausing there thinking, “Oh! To sleep, perchance to dream . . . of owning a new $179 Italian Platinum Ventilated pillow!”

I think my parents bought me the only pillow I remember owning.  I’ve become sentimental about it ever since my wife began insisting it’s time for it to go.

You’d think a wife would admire my fidelity to things with which I love to sleep.

How would it look to all the other pillows if I chucked this one for a sporty new trophy pillow just when times started looking up?

But I wonder if the old pillow is costing me precious winks. It’s really a mess. It’s flat, full of dried drool, and incapable of offering any support. 

When you think of it like that, my pillow and my career are practically twins.

I’m not a great sleeper, but I’ve always attributed that to the fact that I’m excellent worrier.

I hear one sound in the night, wake up and lay there on that rumpled pillow wondering about all my professional mistakes and personal dispositions have held me back.

When I do sleep, it’s with the pillow tucked between my head and shoulder of my outstretched arm, sleeping as I do in a position not dissimilar from the one Superman uses to fly

Because it’s become so thin and formless, I spend a good deal of the night shaping it the way potters do clay. I punch it, ball it up, and try and form it into a shape conducive to comfort.

More and more I find that shape elusive.

Part of it might be because Val’s contentions about the poor pillow are working. My loyalty is starting to crack.

She’s becoming so desperate to get rid of the pillow she calls “Ol’ Crusty” that she’s begun volunteering to brave the hillbilly hordes and stop by the local discount store to pull some cheap synthetic fiber monstrosity out of pile for me.

She must think my head’s a peasant.

Geez, why not just wrap some paper towels around our discarded pizza boxes?

Coincidentally, I just saw this story about London’s Savoir Beds and their$175,000 mattresses. They are constructed from curled Latin American horse tail, pure Mongolian cashmere and more than 1,600 miles of elegant woven silk.

The bed is guaranteed for 25 years. That works out to less than $20 a night.

Appreciating the math, I dream of a day when I could afford such sumptuousness.

As it is, I’ll probably take the friendly salesman’s advice and shell out $70 for my new pillow.

What will I do with Ol’ Crusty? It’ll probably retire to the office to provide cranial succor for afternoon floor naps on the days when the previous night’s activities flew out of hand.

Too bad none of the truly snazzy pillow outlets would ever dream of letting me take one of their finer models home for a test drive.

When it comes to pillow purchases, it’s always best to sleep on it.

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