IN SEARCH OF
THE PERFECT PILLOW
I got an email the other day from a reader who wasn't happy
about the subjects of some recent columns. "Our country is a
mess," she wrote, "and you're writing about plumbers and Easter
egg hunts? Disgraceful."
Thank you. While I throw in a serious column every once in
awhile when motivated, I prefer to try and create some smiles with the
lighter stuff. And so, in honor of this disgruntled reader, I will be
writing today about the fluffiest subject imaginable: Pillows.
That reader (and others) may not think pillows are that
important in the great scheme of things, but I do. How are we expected to
create a better world if we can't get a good night's sleep because we
can't find the right pillow?
I know I'm not alone because I've discussed this with many
people. There are good pillows and bad pillows, and 99% of pillows are
bad, at least for me. They just don't fit right, either too hard, too
soft, too lumpy or too flat. It's a constant battle.
There are two components to the pillow problem: home pillows
and travel pillows. Both are worthy of discussion, and I will start with
the never ending battle with hotel and motel pillows, or any foreign
Nine times out of ten, it's a disaster. The main problem is
I'm a two pillow guy. It's essential to have a flat pillow underneath,
topped by a fluffier pillow (but not too fluffy) on top. This is a
combination that is rarely available in strange places. And so I'll whine.
"This is not working," I'll report to my wife who
is trying to sleep next to me and doesn't have quite the same problem.
"Let me try your pillow."
This usually doesn't go over well, especially if I
aggressively tug her pillow out from under her in frustration. When I
explain that I'm sort of like the Princess in the "Princess and the
Pea" fairy tale, it usually makes matters worse.
Her pillow is usually no better. The problem is that in most
strange places, all pillows are identical, meaning one pillow is not
enough cushion and two pillows are too much. I need to have the combo
package, and it's seldom available. So I suffer, and let anyone within
If I'm in a strange house, I've been known to wander the
hallways looking for the right combination. Occasionally, I'll be
successful, but it's rare. I'm usually doomed to toss and turn all night,
never reaching that blissful comfort level of the perfect pillow.
The situation is better at home, but it's never perfect. I've
got the combo package, but I'm always looking for improvement. Just
recently I heard the advertisement on the radio for MyPillow.com and
shelled out a stupid amount of money for the 2 for 1 special. When my
pillows came a few days later, I eagerly ripped open the package in
anticipation of the perfect night's sleep.
I woke up at 2 a.m. with a very stiff neck. Too lumpy. Time
to move on.
I went back to my old combo, which was tolerable, but not
perfect. Then last week my wife came home from Costco and, bless her
heart, threw a couple of new pillows my way.
"Try these," she said. "Maybe I'll get lucky and
you'll stop whining."
Costco? Who buys miracle pillows at Costco? I checked out the
package: 20" by 28", 350 thread count, 600 full power, 100%
Damask stripe cotton, medium density for all sleeping positions, certified
by the American Down & Feather Council.
Certainly worth a shot. When I went to bed I ceremoniously
threw my old adequate pillow to the floor and placed one of my two Costco
pillows on top of my stabilizing flat pillow and then laid my incredibly
sensitive head down to sleep.
Immediate reactions are worthless. Only time could tell. And
sure enough, when I woke in the morning there wasn't a whine to be found.
My wife had found the perfect pillow and I would be eternally grateful.
The combo was just right. Not too flat, not too lumpy, just
the right amount of girth. I now wake up with a smile on my face, ready to
solve the world's problems and make that disgruntled reader just a little
bit less critical---just as soon as I finish the column on the perfect