50 shades of sore: My fling with a sofa sleeper

by StevenGroves, Flickr Creative Commons
by StevenGroves, Flickr Creative Commons

My oldest son just started a great job with a great company in the great city of Nashville. (And all the other parents my age said, “Amen!”)

Here’s what I’ve observed: When young adults launch out these days, they have very little in the way of home furnishings. What they own is lots of electronic gadgets and Blu-Ray movies, but not so much in the way of basics like “chairs” or “plates.” (Granted, maybe I still don’t know what a Roku is for, but even I know it’s not wise to try to sit on a pile of DVDs or eat off a Kindle.)

My son was no different. For his apartment, he needed pretty much everything. So…we gathered up duplicate items around our house, found some great deals on small appliances, hit some estate sales, and then we—magnanimously—let him have our 12 year-old sofa sleeper.

Actually that’s not entirely true. We helped him take it—as in, we lifted that sucker (all three tons of it), lugged it out to a U-Haul truck, loaded it, and drove it 510 miles, whereupon we hoisted it again and then navigated a treacherous set of stairs into his cool new digs.

I learned a lot. I learned, for example, a sofa sleeper is like that drawer in your house where you stick all kinds of weird junk—pencils, fingernail clippers, crayons, old eye shadow, lip balm, assorted screws, and grocery receipts. And I learned that moving one is also the impetus for home improvement projects: “Ooh! Yikes!…well…that door frame probably needed to be replaced and repainted anyway.”

I learned further that a sofa sleeper is a great medical diagnostic tool. Want to know which of your muscles or tendons or ligaments are on the verge of tearing? Simple. Carry a sofa sleeper backwards down a staircase. Or, heck, just (try to) sleep on one for two straight nights. I promise, the experience is more accurate (and way cheaper) than any MRI.

The sofa sleeper…what a contraption! Who knew Dr. Frankenstein had a brief stint at La-Z-Boy? I can picture a conversation in the furniture design division:

Engineer (breathless, excited): Mr. MacDougal, I’ve got a brilliant new idea!

Boss: Let’s hear it, Crumley…

Engineer: Okay, we take the BEST aspects of a couch

Boss (expressionless): And…?

Engineer: And we add the BEST features of a bed

Boss (smiling faintly) Hmmm…I like it, I like it…go on!

Engineer: Then we THROW ALL THAT OUT—what do we have left?

Boss (confused): I don’t know.

Engineer (triumphant): The “Sofa Sleeper”!

Boss: (frowning) I already sleep on my sofa.

Engineer: No this is different. This is a sofa that converts into a bed. The bed is actually down inside the sofa.

Boss: (blank stare)

Engineer (pleased with himself): You just take off the cushions. Then you pull a bar up and out, and a metal bed frame unfolds. And it already has a mattress on it. Voila! Instant bed. Just add sheets.

Boss: Sounds like a lot of work. Why not just lie on the sofa?

Engineer: No, see this way, it can sleep more than one person.

Boss: The mattress is inside?

Engineer: Yep, it’s a paper thin, very flexible mattress.

Boss: On top of steel bars?

Engineer: Right. Picture a Murphy Bed, but instead of pulling it down off the wall, you pull it up out of a couch. It’s a sofa by day, a sleeper by night. It’s a “SOFA SLEEPER.”

Boss: Wouldn’t that be…I don’t know…uncomfortable?

Engineer: Maybe, but it’s for relatives and guests, and you surely don’t want them getting too comfortable and sticking around too long. Besides, it’s functional—and Americans love functional.

Boss: (nodding). Let’s do it. I want a million sofa sleepers by next month.

Engineer: Sir, I think every home in America is going to want one.

Boss: Make it 30 million then!

I can tell you this: I am 50 shades of sore after my two-night, three-day fling with a sofa sleeper in Nashville. And 50 shades of happy that I’ll never (fingers crossed) have to move it again.




  1. staciaemerson@yahoo.com

    Len, you did it. You cursed yourself. You said “never”. I feel certain you will get some more experience relocating that sofa sleeper…;)

Leave a Reply