Saturday, November 15, 2008

On Pillows and Childhood

Our fiendish plan worked.

The girls sunk deep into their foam pads last night and slept the morning away - at least as much as they sleep any Saturday morning away. They fell asleep fairly quickly, too, though I thought Lauren was going to levitate off her bed at first from the excitement of it all. So: money well spent.

As I was making up the beds last night, putting the foam pads underneath the sheets and making sure that there were enough sheets to cover them so that the whole thing didn't let loose with a rubbery "SPROING!" at about 4am and bring interesting times to our quiet household, a thought occurred to me. Thoughts do that - they sneak up on you when you least expect them, though why this is so remains something of a mystery to me. Thinking is something one ought to be doing all the time, really.

But nevertheless, there I was, putting the pillows into their cases, when it occurred to me that you can tell a lot about how people spent their childhoods by how they do this simple task. Specifically, by whether they put the zipper at the closed end of the pillowcase or the open end.

Kim insists that the zipper goes inside, down at the closed end. Otherwise, she says, you end up sleeping on it. This to me says that she had a fairly quiet nightlife as a small child. Because if there was one thing that my brother and I learned early on as children, it was that if you put the zipper down at the closed end, it would leave quite a mark the next time you whacked someone with it.

Keith and I shared a bedroom for a number of years when we were growing up, and we had an entire repertoire of amusements designed to pass the time when we should have been getting to sleep. They all followed a standard trajectory: whispered suggestions, quiet beginnings, enthusiastic middles, and, eventually, diving back into bed in a vain attempt to avoid The Wrath Of The Father. We could have set our watches by it, if we had worn watches.

But you only had to be clipped by a zipper once before you learned to put it at the open end, where you grabbed the pillowcase, rather than the closed end, where you hit people. It was a kind of detente between us.

If you're wondering, holding the pillowcase by the closed end during a pillow fight was never an option, either - that's a great way to send your pillow sailing into the hallway, leaving you defenseless. There's a long list of things in this world that you only do once, just to see what they're like, and then never do again - giving a cat a bath, catching a frisbee with your teeth, actually answering the question, "Do you know what time it is, young man?", and so on. Clipping people with zippers is on that list. Leaving yourself defenseless with your brother in the room is too.

Childhood: great stuff for the survivors.

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