In a mall Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I heard a strange moaning sound. I realized the sound was coming from an older vampire bat flying beside me. I figured I’d try to help.
Uh–Vampire? Got a problem?
OLDER VAMPIRE: Obviously yes! I’m in pain! I’m too old to rest in my coffin box! It’s killing my back! I need a mattress!
I can understand that. I used to be able to sleep on anything. But now, my back hurts in the morning if I sleep on a mattress that’s too hard or too flimsy—
OLDER VAMPIRE: Well that’s the whole ridiculous problem. I came here to the mall to buy a mattress to put in my coffin. But there are too many kinds! I don’t know which one to get! Why can’t there just be one mattress?
I went through the same thing last year. I wanted to buy a mattress. It used to be there were soft, medium and hard mattresses. That was all.
OLDER VAMPIRE. Yes, like with The Three Bears.
Right. Those were the only choices. But now we have—
OLDER VAMPIRE: Mattresses with memory foam! A little foam! Or a lot of foam! Or they lift your back up and down with a remote! Or they have extra coils! Or no coils! Or they’re thick! Or they’re thin! Or they’re attached to a sofa bed! Aaaaah! I can’t take it anymore!
I admire you for getting angry about it.
OLDER VAMPIRE: The truth is…my anger actually covers up my fear. What’s happening to me? Is there more to understand in the world? Or am I just not able to understand as well as I used to?
Maybe it’s a combination. Sometimes the whole thing embarrasses me. I’m self conscious about it. So to cope, I focus on exactly what I want and reject the other choices, even if a different choice might save me money. That’s one way to deal with it. At least I don’t go insane.
OLDER VAMPIRE: I don’t get out a lot during the day. Is this sort of problem just happening with mattresses?
No, it’s everywhere. Like, I had a new window put in my house recently. But you can’t just buy a window. There are types that have extra panes, or picture windows that don’t open, or there are windows that open if you tilt them at a certain angle, there’s another kind of window that opens if you pull it up and down and–
OLDER VAMPIRE: No wonder I’ve been having so much trouble flying into bedrooms.
It doesn’t end there! When I go to the supermarket, there’s low fat yogurt, no fat, 2%, 4%, no sugar, less sugar, Greek, regular–
OLDER VAMPIRE: Alright already! Shut up! You’re giving me a headache!
OLDER VAMPIRE: So, what should I do about the mattress? How did you resolve your problem with it?
Well, instead of asking a million questions and trying to understand how every mattress works…I went to a store that offered a special deal. You can buy a mattress that seems comfortable, but after a month if you don’t like it, you can exchange it for a different mattress in the store.
OLDER VAMPIRE: I like that! I’d like to go with your mattress deal if you don’t mind directing me to that store.
I’d be happy to. Just keep in mind, if you’re thinking of returning the mattress, don’t drip blood on it. They won’t take it back with stains.
OLDER VAMPIRE: I don’t know if I can pull that off.
Well then, just buy a mattress protector. They sell lots of them in Bed Bath and Beyond.
OLDER VAMPIRE: What do you mean by “lots of them?”
You can buy a simple plastic type—
OLDER VAMPIRE: That’s for me!
But… in your case, you might want to pay extra for one that protects against stains and odors, and you might want the kind that zips all the way around the mattress so it won’t fall off easily, and you might want the kind that…