Opinion: Falling for a sales pitch


Last year, my wife Mary Ellen and I spent our 43rd anniversary downtown at a charming bed and breakfast, celebrating all the years since we fell in love. To commemorate this, I fell out of bed.

It has occurred several more times since then — once with me almost ending up in the ER. Mary Ellen has often asserted I should have my head examined, and after that crash landing, we knew something had to be done.

She purchased an inflatable bed bumper rail from a company called hiccapop. When the box arrived, I thought hiccapop was one of those fancy energy drinks Mary Ellen likes.  By the way, I know the name shouldn’t be lowercase, but no words in their brochure are capitalized. not one. they think that is clever. i don’t. i think it’s pretentious.

This bed rail is a 5-foot-long cylindrical pillow. Inflated, it looks like a long white log. Placed under the fitted sheet on the side of the bed, it prevents the sleeper’s potential plummet to the floor. The instructions suggest it’s intended for toddlers who have transitioned from a crib to a real bed, a transition I made during the Truman administration.

One woman writes on Amazon, “The hiccapop keeps my son safe. I no longer have to worry about the little guy falling out of bed. It’s a relief to know my 6-year-old is protected.”

Note: Reread that review and substitute the word husband for son, and old man for little guy. Then, replace the number six with 77. See how humiliating this whole predicament is for me?

Nettie, our housekeeper, came this week. She told Mary Ellen she couldn’t clean the bedroom because I was napping.

“That’s not my husband. That’s his hiccapop.”

“Well, whoever he is, I can’t vacuum until he gets out of bed.”

Consumer-oriented hiccapop boasts, “If you ever need parts, we will send them to you free of charge.” Question: Have you ever needed to replace parts in a pillow?

The warranty includes, “Even if your dog chews it accidentally.”  Barney, our old beagle, once chewed up Mary Ellen’s brand-new shoes.

“Why don’t you scold him?” she asked me.

“Because it wasn’t his fault. He ate them accidentally.”

Concerned about having other baby hiccapop product ideas ripped off, the company issued this warning in its brochure: “To you beef-witted design pirates, do NOT copy our stuff, or we will sue you.”  I have never heard that expression, but there’s nothing more threatening than a well-placed meat metaphor.

By the way, the bumper really works. I haven’t rolled off the bed since we installed it, but I have to get a new one. I’m a restless sleeper with a lot of nervous energy, and I chewed into my hiccapop one night, deflating it.

Mary Ellen forgave me. I told her it was an accident.