It happened to me
Nearly a month ago, I got an email from a reporter named Dru Sefton. She was wanting to do a story on washing pillows and, in her research, she found this post (read it, it’s funny) I had written that was sort of related to the subject. She inquired about how long I had the pillow, and I said probably about thirty years as I’d had it since I was a wee lad. She asked me the following questions and I gave my answers (reprinted for your amusement):
Does reading that research give you pause about sleeping on your favorite pillow for as long as you did?
Not at all. My understanding regarding mites is that they are 1) every where and 2) absolutely harmless. No matter how scary those creepy little buggers look crawling around when magnified on the Oprah show, they’re quite harmless. Regarding the fungus, it sounds scary but doesn’t frighten me at all. Fungus is everywhere (among us, even) but unless it’s in huge quantities, I can’t see it being dangerous. It reminds me of the episode of Mythbusters where they measured the amount of fecal matter on tooth brushes. Sounds disgusting on the surface but is harmless and normal.
So what year did you get your pillow?
Had it since I was a kid. I’d guess about 1976 or so.
What made it so comfortable?
Probably because it was broken in
Did anyone ever try to convince you to get a new pillow?
Not really. As I said, the Mrs. only got scared because of Oprah
When did your Mrs. wash the pillow? Was it Aug. 3?
Actually, that was a reprint from an old post while on vacation (the original post was 9/8/2004) and the pillow was washed on 9/7/04.
What did you think when you first saw your pillow in tatters in the washing machine?
I was sad and I had to fight the urge to yell at my wife because I figured she’d just throw the old one away after watching that show. I had a pillow going on 30 years and it was quite depressing.
If I read this correctly, you put the clothes washed with The Pillow in the dryer hoping the vent would catch the feathers?
Yes. It worked but the filter got clogged up every few seconds which created quite a scent. And, I swear I am not making this up, I still occasionally pull the odd feather out of a white shirt (the Mrs. washed my pillows with whites).
And then you tried your shop vac?
Yes. It worked best.
So what pillow do you sleep on now? Think you’ll keep it for 19 years?
Funny but my wife, who is a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to stuff for me, went out and bought me a fancy goose feather pillow from some place online. It cost like $50 (too high for a pillow, if you ask me). It is similar in feel but considerably softer. I guess that’s because it doesn’t have all those mites and fungi in there hardening the feathers. As for 19 years, not sure. Now it’s just a pillow and not the pillow I had when I was a kid. Sentimental value is gone.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. She wanted me to call her and give her my name (confirming the source, I am told is the technical term for that). I told her that my preference was to remain anonymous. She then stated that she couldn’t use my interview due to rules regarding anonymous sources. I asked her (again, this was a month ago) if news agencies were so opposed to using anonymous sources, why did Judy Miller spend 87 days in the pokey? I emphasized that this was just a story about pillows and she concurred.
I also told her that I had been featured in a few papers and they always used my blog pseudonym, which she verified using Lexis Nexis. She said different sources had different rules regarding anonymous sources. I still refused to give my name. She offered to let me use only my first name and town. I countered with stating I’d be willing to use my first name only. She had to ask the editor. And this was the reply:
She isn’t buying it. She says anonymity is extended only for “very special reasons,” and this isn’t one.
ARG! I kid you not, we’re being very careful now because the public and citizen journalists are WANTING us to use names and not anonymous sources.
Undeterred, she asked if maybe my wife would be interested in being interviewed for the story. I asked the Mrs. and she declined. She sent a few more emails saying pretty please and such but I stood my ground choosing to remain anonymous.
I have to admit, Ms. Sefton was very persistant and quite pleasant. I hope she understands I wasn’t trying to be a jerk.
New research shows pillows may be a breeding ground for fungal spores, which could aggravate allergies or asthma. To help reduce problems:
• Use a breathable, moisture-repellent pillow cover fabric, such as Gore-Tex.
• Wash pillows at least four times a year.
• When laundering, wash on the gentle cycle, two at a time.
• Fluff the pillows halfway through the dryer cycle to prevent lumps.
She found one guy who had a pillow for 19 years. I had mine for about 28 or so.