[The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased a punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris, author of My Wife and Times. We continue this entertaining series with Daniel’s brilliant insights on how to get a heavenly night sleep. —Ed].
SLEEP LIKE AN ASTRONAUT
By Daniel Will Harris
Was the future simpler in the past, or was I? When I was a kid everything astronauts did was fascinating. I drank Tang, even though it tasted like slightly tart dishwater because that's what the astronauts drank. I ate the astronaut's "Space Food Sticks," which were kind of like Tootsie Rolls but in different flavors like peanut butter or caramel. I kept waiting for them to come out with "turkey & dressing," or "Salisbury steak" and was surprised when they never did.
It's not like I wanted to go to Mars or even the moon. I've never had any desire to leave this planet before my time. There was just something so "futuristic" about astronauts. So I longed for their special space foam mattress, and at one point, tried to convince my mother to let me sleep inside a huge cardboard tube.
A friend of mine from high school, Ellen, even turned out to be an astronaut on the space shuttle. She was the valedictorian (of course) and brilliant, so no one was really surprised. Afterwards she was casual about it, as if she didn't want to make her friends too jealous that she'd escaped the earth's atmosphere and we didn't.
So a few years ago, when I saw that space foam again, the future of my past came back to me. The foam's this amazing temperature-sensitive stuff that molds to your own body (which is, of course, better than having it mold to someone else's body).
The foam's also expensive. As you know, I try not to let reality stand in my way, especially in the way of a good night's sleep followed by a good afternoon's nap, but my wife didn't like this kind of foam (she doesn't need a reason but she had one—she said it "smelled") so that was pretty much that.
Then I discovered isotonic mattress pads. Just 2" of the magic space foam. Just over $100. It would give me just enough impression of having a space mattress that I was happy and my wife could live with it because, according to her, "it'll air out."
So there I was, sleeping like an astronaut, only with gravity, lying down, wearing far less than a space suit, and without the nausea it turns out astronauts get but never talk about.
Five years pass (imagine the pages flying off a calendar and the screen getting wavy and some moody Moog music). Now my mattress pad has, apparently, conformed to the body of Orson Welles. Not being a genius of Welles' magnitude, it no longer fit me.
So I bought a new one and when I got it home I had the brilliant idea of putting it on top of the old one. I figured this would be even more spacey and it would feel like floating.
I was excited as I lay down and felt myself sinking into it. It was like being on a cloud. For all of about 15 minutes. Then I continued to sink until the foam was up around me as if I'd been steam-rollered into wet cement.
I tried to turn over and couldn't. Then it started getting really hot. I sank deeper. I felt like I was sleeping on a marshmallow being roasted over a campfire.
I tried to roll off the bed, but found myself firmly held in place by four inches of space foam. Maybe this stuff worked better in zero gravity. Or maybe this was the wrong kind of foam. Not NASA at all, but some kind of alien technology designed to trap unsuspecting humans like a Roach Motel—Sleepers go in but they don't come out.
I wouldn't say I started to panic at this point, just that when I finally did claw my way out I kissed the ground—well, the carpet at least.
So here comes another new year where I'm reminded that the future isn't what I expected. After dragging the heavy foam pads around I managed to put my back out. So now I'll be sleeping on the floor.
And I'm still waiting for a Monte Cristo Sandwich-flavored Space Food Stick. Maybe next year.