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Revenge of the bad hammock

Aren’t these things supposed to help us relax and unwind?

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 9:30 a.m. CDT

My hammock hates me. To tell you the truth, I’m not too fond of it, either. It retaliated this evening.

In general, I love hammocks like I love mattresses, sofas and chaise lounges. Anywhere that I can nap comfortably is generally alright with me.

Once, during a layover in an airport, a concrete slab was a friend of mine. An overstuffed recliner is sublime.

From the beginning, my hammock was just so-so. I consider myself an expert on sleep comfort, so I have high expectations for hammocks.

This hammock, which my wife lovingly selected for me, looks like a premium product. It’s self-standing with a padded mat suspended by chains on a rack. You could conceivably take it anywhere, although it’s too big and bulky to transport routinely.

My chief complaint is that it doesn’t swing like a hammock should. The standard hammock is held by a rope in the middle of each end. The downside is that a hammock is easy to fall out of.

Mine is secured by four chains that stabilize it. The trade-off is not being able to rock back and forth. The swinging motion is, frankly, the only redeeming quality of a standard hammock. The body positioning is horrible. Your legs are elevated as your body contorts to fit inside the sling. It’s not comfortable, really.

But you put up with that unnatural, banana shape because you can rock yourself to sleep. My hammock has that awkward shape but no rockabye.

For years, I tolerated the drawbacks of my hammock because I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for my wife’s gift and, well, I didn’t have anything else to lie down on out on my back porch.

The hammock gave me years of adequate service. But I never really embraced it as a real hammock. I think it was resentful of that. Tonight, it acted out.

The frame under the sling consists of metal pipes. Some of them are bent at an angle. Tonight, two of those angled joints decided that my ever-increasing weight was too much to bear. The fatigued metal pipes worked in tandem to fold up on me.

Just as I settled onto the mat, the joints gave out, sending my feet and my head upward while crashing my butt to the ground.

It’s always a little precarious to exit a hammock, anyway. Try getting out of one when you’re folded in half like a wallet. I didn’t even know I could bend like that.

I was suspended there, caught in its trap. I had my cell phone with me and considered dialing my wife for help, but I knew she would want to take a picture first and I didn’t need that.

I was finally able to thrust my legs out to the side and rolled out of the trap. I did this without injury, which is important to note. But the hammock wasn’t done with me.

It’s made to fold up so you can store it in a corner where it doesn’t take up too much space. I wasn’t going to use it again, so I resolved to fold it upright until I could decide whether to throw it out or try to repair it.

Remember that the mat is suspended by two short chains on each end. When you fold it up, you can hook the chains at one end over pegs on the other end. That keeps it folded up securely.

I hooked one of the chains and went to hook the other. But the compromised joints made the bulky contraption wobbly. When I pulled on the second chain, the first one popped loose letting the whole thing unfold. On my head.

The pipe frame smacked me like a hammer on the forehead. A goose egg quickly swelled up as I stumbled back. The hammock had had its revenge.

I limped inside and told my wife what had happened. She said she was sorry that she hadn’t gotten to see it. Not sorry that it had happened. Sorry that it had not happened in her presence where it would have provided entertainment value and perhaps a YouTube-ready video.

Well, America’s Funniest Videos TV show will just have to run more clips of crotch hits and silly dog antics. I’m not giving the hammock another chance to kill me.

———

© Copyright 2013 by David Porter who can be reached at david@ramblinman.us. All right reserved. If I knew I could win a $10,000 prize on AFV, it might be worth recreating the mishap but I’m not taking the risk.

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