Boy, was I ever wrong.
Let’s take the clocks back a few weeks ago. I make the decision to get a new bed. Fine. I decide to go the least expensive route and investigate Craig’s List. Cool. I run a search for a queen size mattress. First entry I see –
“Queen size mattress. $20. Only a few stains.”
Only a few stains. Great. So the guy was a relatively neat serial killer. The kind that took pride in his work and didn’t let too much of the DNA out of the plastic bag. I can feel comfortable sleeping on that guy’s bed for a few years. The real problem with that is that I’m not really worried as much about the size of the stain as I am the origin. I’ll trade a basketball-sized grape juice stain for even the tiniest fleck of semen. I made an executive decision – along with food and sex, beds are one of those rare items that aren’t best served from Internet personal ads. So I went to a mattress store.
I walk in. The store is empty save for a shit ton of mattresses and a lone salesman. The best way to describe this guy is that he looks like Luther Vandross, if Luther had survived today. God rest his soul. You see this guy, and you think, “Man, Luther really isn’t doing so good.”
The guy comes up to me, and he’s polite enough. Asks me what I’m looking for in a mattress. Not really sure what he wants me to say, so he specifies. “How firm do you want it?” Well, I want it to have confidence in its convictions, but flexible enough to see everyone’s point of view. I don’t fucking know. This is the first time I’ve been asked what I’m looking for in a mattress. It’s like releasing an Indian girl who spent her whole life expecting to be in an arranged marriage into the dating scene. They can’t articulate what they want. They just know they don’t want the dork their parents picked out for them.
Finally, I break down. “Look man, I just want the cheapest mattress.” He gives me two options.
“This one here will last you one year. This other one will last you three.”
How can you judge how long a mattress is going to last? Doesn’t that depend on how fat the buyer is? I feel like that should be a factor in his evaluation. “This one right here will last you a year. Of course, you might get two or three out of it if you lay off the sweets.” That almost motivates me to get in better shape, just to prove to that guy that I can lose weight and have a mattress last longer. I’ll work out tirelessly, so much so that I’m on the cover of MuscleAmerica or one of those weird magazines with the Incredible Hulk stunt doubles on the cover. And when they ask what drove me to become this monster of a man, I’ll take a deep breath and say, “It was that smug Mattress Discounters salesman guy. Looked like Luther Vandross when he was losing his battle against Krispy Kreme.”
So the guy shows me the cheapest mattress they have, and I think I want it. But this is when it gets weird. I say it looks good.
“Cool….try it out.”
Okay….I rest my hand on the bed gingerly, pushing it up and down to test the springs.
“Nah man…go ‘head and get on there.”
Umm….okay. I sit down on the bed.
“Now put your feet up.”
Okay, are you going to fuck me or what? Cause this is getting awkward. Do you want me to test this thing out on my own terms, or is this a prelude to some bizarre Mattress Discounters gay encounter? Not sure I can comfortably evaluate a mattress under the circumstances good old Luther is placing me under. “Yeah, it’s comfortable, but I don’t know….stop rubbing my back…how light are these springs…Is that New Edition playing…..yeah, I was looking for something with a little more support, because my lumbar area is bad…..could you put away that bottle of baby oil……I think I’ll also need to buy a frame for this…..why is my shirt off?”
But in the end, I bought the bed, so I guess the moral of the story is, if you’re going to buy accoutrement for your bedroom, you might as well buy it from a dead R&B legend. Next week, I’m planning to buy a a quilt and two pillows from Teddy Pendergrass.