Camera scans the rubble of a gray, dystopian landscape. Nothing is left, fallen buildings smolder; wrecked cars and gutted bodies of the dead lay discarded on the street.
Camera pans to small object on the horizon.
Slow zoom to pristine white rectangle. It is the sole survivor of the apocalypse. It is all that is left of civilization. It is My Pillow.
Unless you’re a cloistered monk with a brick for a pillow, or you’ve lost the key to your underground bunker and you can’t get out, you already know about My Pillow. If you listen to A.M. radio, shop in big-box stores, read magazines and newspapers, or watch TV, you have already been mind-melded into the cult of My Pillow.
Living as I do a middlebrow, suburban life, I can attest that the CIA or even Big Brother could learn a trick or two about large-scale brainwashing from My Pillow. Raves about it flood the media. It appears to cure everything that ails anyone. It makes insomniacs sleep; it cures marriage problems, snoring, spinal misalignment, numb fingers, old boxing injuries, and possibly beriberi. Donald Trump swears by it, as do Neil Patrick Harris and Sugar Ray Leonard. Have these three people ever agreed on anything, ever?
It wasn’t until last week that I saw My Pillow for the first time. A pile of My Pillows were on a large table at Bed Bath and Beyond, resting below a cardboard cutout of the smiling face of Mike Lindell, who invented it.
Before My Pillow, Mike Lindell was just a regular guy, or at least somewhat regular in that he was a hardcore crackhead whose three drug suppliers were so worried about him that they staged an intervention.
From this dark, twisted tunnel of despair, the legend of My Pillow emerged. Like Lancelot pulling the sword of Excalibur from the rock, Lindell found his calling. He is now a millionaire many times over and a Santa Claus to charities like the Salvation Army, who have beds but not enough pillows.
From yards away, My Pillow looks exactly like … a pillow. It is white and rectangular and is designed to fit in a pillowcase.
Only when you touch it can you grasp its singularity.
It appears to be filled with shredded foam chunks the size of beef-stew cubes. Leaning my head on it felt like resting on a bag full of rubber mah-jong tiles.
It is possible that my negativity about My Pillow is jealousy. This year, I have thrown out a dozen dog beds after my puppy, Ivy, ripped them open and left a wall-to-wall carpet of foam bits. Why did I not think of stuffing them back in the bed and marketing it as Ivy’s Pillow? Why didn’t I take Ivy on Shark Tank? She is significantly cuter then Mike Lindell.
The strange thing about my unsettled feelings toward My Pillow is that normally I’m a fan of anything pitched on TV. In the backs of various closets I have a clay Chia Pet likeness of Donald Trump’s head that when watered grows grass on its scalp, a can of dark-brown “spray-on hair” that fills in bald spots, an ultrasonic animal repeller, an “in the egg” egg scrambler, and a scented room candle that allegedly smells like Dr. Phil. I will pretty much buy anything if the pitchman’s spiel is mesmerizing enough.
But the Dr. Phil–scented candle, the spray-on hair, and the rest of them were fun to watch being pitched. It is imperative for the viewer to say, Wow, that’s a cool new idea, I have to get one. The bottom line is, I don’t need My Pillow because I already have a pillow. I also do not need My Shoe or My Towel.
Because I obviously don’t get the overwhelming allure of My Pillow, I am feeling paranoid. Maybe I am on a blacklist of people who still sleep on down pillows. I sense a pillow Armageddon just around the corner, and I’m on the wrong side of the battle.
Conclusion of My Pillow: The Movie:
Aerial shot of Ridgefield, Connecticut, once a pretty New England town but now, like the rest of the world, a landscape of twisted steel and broken bricks.
Zoom in to what’s left of a small yellow ranch house. Camera tracks to bedroom, where we see a dead woman in bed. Books and manuscripts and two dog skeletons are beside her.
Like the brave few who fought the resistance, she, too, has succumbed. We can’t see who she is. Someone has placed a lumpy white pillow over her face.
Jane Stern is the author of more than forty books, including, most recently, Confessions of a Tarot Reader. With Michael Stern, she coauthored the popular Roadfood guidebook series. The Sterns recently donated forty years of archival materials to the Smithsonian museum, documenting the atmosphere, stories, and history of various restaurants, diners, and regional food events.