7:10 AM CST, March 8, 2013
One of my calling cards as a writer and human being is that through all these years my stock has soared here in Chicago, I have remained a man who sleeps on nothing but a mattress placed directly on the floor. Otherwise known as a “floor mattress.”
I never saw any reason to upgrade. The bedding industry has us suckered on the need for a box spring. Box springs are bullshit. They add nothing to the sleeping experience, and I refused to give in and buy a bed when I had this perfectly fine mattress that served all my sleeping, sexual, and 4 a.m. Subway sandwich-eating needs. To be honest, I could probably go on sleeping on it for another decade, but my buddy Joe just bought a new bed and, knowing about my situation, called me up to see if I wanted his. Sadly and with much regret, I said that I did.
You have to understand: the upgrade here is monumental. It’s like going from driving a Kia Koup to a Rolls Royce Wraith. It’s like upgrading your point guard from Isaiah Thomas (the Sacramento Kings version) to Chris Paul. It’s like going from Campbell’s soup to some really excellent-type soup. I mean, this bed is from Ikea. C’mon.
Joe, who bought this bed when he was single, is a cool guy who buys nice things that make him seem like an adult. I am a not-cool guy, whose only furniture comes from the uncle who was looking to clear out his basement in 2007. Putting the bed together in my room, Joe explained everything.
“This is your headboard right here. You ever had a headboard before? Of course not. This is what the girls are gonna hold on to when Smashville does his job, you sick puppy. God, I can’t even imagine what’s going to go on in this bed now. Maybe we should put a tarp under it.”
[I should note that Joe’s nickname for me is “Smashville.” I like this much better than the ones some of my other friends use, which include, and I’m not making this up, “Mr. Sprinkles.” The origins of both names could be explained, but that’s like a whole other essay.]
However, in the excitement of my awesome new Ikea bed that makes me feel like George Clooney or maybe Marlon Brando before he got fat, I should note that I am extremely sad to part with my floor mattress. In fact, I can’t quite bring myself to take it to the alley for disposal, so it’s still leaning up against the wall of our living room where I pet it forlornly every time I walk by. As I say goodbye, here then are some of my favorite memories of my floor mattress over the years:
2007: Rent a U-haul truck with my friend Phil to pick up mattress from my Uncle Andy’s in Cincinnati. Also get a sick coffee table, which I still have.
2007: Move to Chicago with my friend James. He drives my mattress in the back of his Chevy S10 pickup truck. Install in room.
2008: Girl gets her period on my floor mattress.
2008: Flu incapacitates me, spend three straight days not leaving mattress once. Bonding.
2009: Come home from trip to discover my roommates’ threw a party and someone must have hooked up on it because the pillows are amiss.
2010: Floor mattress has star-making debut in “Publish This Book.” Gets addicted to coke.
2010: Leave Chicago for extended many-months book tour and abandon floor mattress in back corner of decrepit house (since torn down). Come to terms that I’ll never see it again.
2010: Move back to Chicago, discover that current occupants of house failed to dispose of floor mattress, and are willing to let me have it back. First night sleeping on it again play “Back In Your Arms” by Bruce Springsteen.
2011: Different girl gets her period on my floor mattress.
2012: Barack Obama wins re-election, “Call Me Maybe” becomes song of the summer (nothing floor mattress-related happens).
2013: Joe calls to make his life-changing offer. Install new super-sex dream bed. So far have spent all successive nights maximizing its capabilities by reading a book about Nazis and eating two (2) fruit leathers.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC