Wednesday, January 18, 2017

If you get out of bed even once this week, bad things will happen


There are a lot of big events this week, including discounted bullets at the rifle range, an 80’s themed yoga class, and at least three middle school fistfights behind the 7-11. But you’re going to miss them all because if you get out of bed, something terrible will happen.

“What do you think will happen?” your boyfriend Dennis will ask.

“I don’t know,” tell him. “But what if it’s something that happens to you? I couldn’t live with myself. Get in the bed where it’s safe.”

Dennis is supportive so he’ll first go out and buy you a bucket to go to the bathroom into. Then he’ll climb into bed with you and stay there.


Your mom will come by on your second day in bed and tell you you’re just depressed because your father was distant when you were a little girl.

“It’s not that, Mom,” you’ll say. “I mean, he never said he was proud of me, but this is a whole other thing. By the way, this is my boyfriend, Dennis. At least he’s supporting me in this.”

“Oh and I’m not supportive?”

Your mom will climb into bed and shake Dennis’s hand.

“I like him,” your mom will whisper, spooning you while Dennis hangs over the edge of the bed using the bucket.


Your old high school field hockey coach will come by on Wednesday for a pep talk.

“You think hiding in bed under the covers with your mom and your boyfriend is the way to win?!” your coach will yell. “Come on, get back in the game!”

Your mom will tell the coach he’s pushing you too hard. “You were always too hard on our girls!” your mom will say.

Crying, the coach will crawl into bed with all of you to apologize. He’ll snore when he sleeps.


By this point, your mom and your field hockey coach will have admitted to noticing each other on the field, always wondering. They’ll be under the covers pawing at each other when your coworkers come by to check on you after almost a week of absence. You’ll be glad when they decide to climb on with you and make it a team-building thing, distracting you from the noises your mom and your coach are making.


The bed will be close to buckling when your book club comes by and hops on to discuss the novel The Interestings while drinking several jugs of Chablis. No one will want to leave for fear of being the one something bad happens to, so in order to fit everybody, you’ll all start stacking on each other like Lincoln Logs.


Your dad will come by and sit on the floor, staring at the stack of bodies arrayed before him.

“This is my fault,” he’ll say. “I was distant when you were a little girl. I was distant to your mother too, which is why I can hear her and that coach of yours moaning from level three of the body stack. You think that since I withheld myself from you, the way to live your life is to withhold yourself from the world. Well if something bad is going to happen to somebody, I want it to be me. I deserve it.”

Your dad will stay there on the floor all night, bringing people water when they ask and occasionally emptying the bucket.


While everyone in the stack is still asleep, you’ll realize your dad is right. Living your life in bed underneath a pile of friends and colleagues isn’t living at all. Bad things are part of life. You can’t have good things unless you risk the bad.

“Come on out,” your dad will whisper, as if he’s reading your mind.

You’ll carefully wriggle free so as not to disturb the stack, and you’ll first swing one leg over the edge of the bed, then the other. Then you’ll stand up.

“See,” your dad will say. “Nothing bad happened.”

“But something bad did happen,” you’ll tell him. “Nothing changed. At least if something bad happened I’d know I have an effect on the world.”

“You have an effect on me,” your dad will say. “You made me proud. Now let’s go get some pancakes.”

You’ll smile and take your dad’s hand, and the two of you will tiptoe out of the bedroom to go find yourselves pancakes while the pile continues to sleep the day away.

(Originally appeared on