I always knew my memory foam mattress would have a memory; what I didn’t realize is that it would have a consciousness too.
It was time for a new mattress. The old one had taken on the characteristics of its owner and had also begun to sag in the middle. It was spent from being flipped and rotated 9 ways from Sunday – the mattress and not the owner. The battered cushion had accumulated a decade’s worth of stains making it look like a bad tattoo that was slowly dissolving. So, the wife unit and I (wife unit being an old British colonial measurement of a female helpmate) visited The Illusion of a Bargain mattress store conveniently located at www.HappyMattress.com. Happy Mattress was a Chinese conglomerate affiliated with Sparkle Cleaners and Tasty Restaurant. BTW, be prepared for images unrelated to mattresses if you Google “happy” and “mattress.”
Because we didn’t care much for soft mattresses, we opted for a firm California King instead of a forgiving Martin Luther King. And because our bed was delivered during National Mattress Awareness Month (another Hallmark holiday I guess), they threw in some contour sheets and shams. I was beginning to believe the entire transaction was a sham until I laid down on the mattress. Holy Back-to-the-Womb Batman: it was like mother nature was caressing me in her arms.
Almost immediately the mattress and I formed something like a mutual admiration society. I swathed my new resting pallet in 7000 Thread Count Percale Cotton sheets; and our gelatinized miracle “memory foam” mattress did its job by memorizing our body contours and conforming to our ample swales. And this symbiosis was altogether fitting and proper. But I soon discovered that not only was it memorizing our hollows and humps, it was also stealthily cataloguing everything else that went hump in the night.
I first took notice of this 6 months in when the wife unit and I were basking in the afterglow of what married couples sometimes do after flossing. And out of nowhere the mattress chimed in with a rather snooty, “Well, well you two. The Missionary position again. How do you guys ever come up with this stuff?”
In our post-coital haze we looked around the room and realized the only other sentient being nearby was our cat, and she usually confined her comments to “Meow” so we knew it wasn’t she. We looked at each other in disbelief and in our horror movie moment we realized “the voices were coming from inside the bed!” We leapt naked from the rubbery oracle and turned on the lights. We then saw each other naked, and turned them off again.
“It’s OK,” the mattress assured us. “We’re specially made to witness and absorb all kinds of things.”
Me: So I could have other people sleep in this bed and you could report on them to me?
Mattress: Wow, that was fast. How did we get from “Holy Sh*t, a talking bed!” to “Howzabout you do a little job for me?” Slow down. I only want your sleep number not your aunt and uncle’s mating habits.
Me: Well you seem interested in my mating habits.
Mattress: That’s different. I’m a one couple mattress. I’m bought and paid for till my memory fades and you discard me because I developed Alzheimer’s Foam.
Me: What if I just took a chunk of you and put you in the guest bedroom or a coworker’s cubicle for reporting purposes?
Mattress: Ummm. No. We can’t be parted out. We’re a whole unit – like your wife unit. Besides, I’m built so only the wife unit and you can hear me. That’s why I cost $3800. Talk may be cheap, but not at Happy Mattress.
Me: Hey watch with the wife unit stuff will ya? I mean I can call her the wife unit, but you can’t. Got it? I can make life real miserable for you very easily – less showering and more Mexican food.
Mattress: Alright deal. Just remember, I’ve got your back. As well as your sides and front.
Me: So then you know about my vestigial tale?
Mattress: Yes, but that’s just between you and me – literally.
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my foam to keep.
To memorize my hollows and humps
And other things in night go bumps
As the years went by and I became doughier, I sometimes didn’t know where I ended and my mattress began. Ogden (what we eventually came to call our cushion of first resort) became like a family member and on Thanksgiving we’d strap him to the roof rack and take him down to Mattress Discounters where we’d help prepare Thanksgiving dinners for returned or orphaned mattresses. And when Ogden’s memory foam began to fade and he developed Early Onset Memory Sag, we wrapped him up in his favorite 9,000 thread count Little Nemo sheets and put him on a Sleep Train to Box Springs, GA where he’d be taken care of by Disneyesque bed skirt fairies in a little crash pad he could call his own.