Steve Eaton: The quest for the perfect pillow could lead to superhero status for one sleepless man

Published: Saturday, July 20 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect pillow. I’m not sure it exists.

For years I had this standard pillow I purchased at a big box store that was just right. It was not too firm and not too soft. It had sort of a quilted feel. One day, the idea entered my head that it was wearing out because I’d had it for years and I decided I needed a new pillow. I had no idea that my quest would prove so time-consuming, expensive and frustrating.

I now have a stack of more than a dozen pillows next to my bed, and each night I give three or four of them a chance at winning a permanent starting position. The rest bitterly fall to the side to block my path, often tripping me up in the middle of the night. Petty pillows.

I have one of those buckwheat pillows that make you feel like you are sleeping on Grape-Nuts. I have several memory foam pillows, but I can’t tell if they make any difference with my memory. I can’t even remember how many I have. I have a pillow that is full of water and you get to feel like you are relaxing just before a flood. I have a brand new pillow that is shaped like a short overweight Air Force drone and is supposed to stop me from snoring. It’s nice but it’s not perfect.

I have a body pillow that is designed so I can lie on top of it while it lies over my wife’s face. That one is painful because my wife prefers not to have things flop on her face in the middle of the night and she tells me this by making her hand into a rock fist and then catapulting it into my mid-section.

I have purchased other standard pillows and a few expensive ones with medical-sounding names. They each try their best to measure up but none of them is the perfect pillow. I’ve seen the guy on late-night television who is very excited about selling his pillow to me and I’ve considered buying one of them, but they look very ordinary except for the price.

It makes me feel like I’m going crazy. Does no one else want a very soft firm pillow? If you lay your head on a pillow and it sinks flat to be level with the bed, isn’t that like sleeping with no pillow at all? The idea that the perfect pillow is out there but I can’t find it keeps me up at night.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep and I discovered the Ostrich pillow. I found out several companies make similar pillows. You sort of have to see them to believe them. It’s not designed to be a bed pillow. It completely covers your head like a giant big toe except for your mouth and nose, giving you the chance to relax in public while you wait for someone to assault you and take your stuff. It’s sort of the comfortable, cushy, blind alien look. I thought it would be a great pillow to take to a meeting, subtly sending the message that I am a very smart, big-headed person incapable of doing anything but eating. I’m already overweight, however, so I’m not sure that’s an image I should be cultivating.

My wife says she has measured the pillow pile and it has grown to be five feet tall. Last night, I pulled my original pillow from the stack, the one that I thought had outlived its usefulness, and realized it is probably still the best pillow of all.

I wonder what would happen if I put my head in that original pillowcase and tried, along with the old pillow, to create a poor-man’s Ostrich pillow. I could wear it to work that way. Would people be impressed with my ingenuity or would someone just guide me to the stairs and push me down?

What has become of today’s modern workplace so that an honest, innovative soul who wants to work with a pillow over his head has to fear for his life? I think my coworkers are the ones that should be concerned. My office was recently moved to an upper floor and I just happened to own a giant water-filled pillow that I think would have quite an impact if it fell on someone from several stories up. And if you got hit by a falling pillow, how could you complain?

“Yes, is this 911? I’d like to report an assault. Someone just hit me with a pillow!”

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