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I Eat Sheets

One dog keeps his guardian on shred alert

By Eric Brown

It’s more likely an indictment of me rather than my dog Madison that she has shredded a delicious Italian Frette duvet, punctured a winter-fill Hungarian goose-down comforter from Bloomingdale’s, and switch-bladed the side of our Swedish Duxiana bed with her claws. While it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire European continent to provide a proper night’s rest.

Madison apparently likes the smell of high quality. By high quality, I mean expensive, and by likes, I mean destroys. Her gift for ruining items that fall suspiciously shy of our insurance deductible is uncanny. During the winter, Madison passes on the $40 jersey T-shirt sheets from Linens-n-Things knowing that the warmer weather beacons cooler, more expensive sheets. Sure enough, July and August turn our bed into Madison’s high thread count, all-you-can-tear buffet. She’d make a near-perfect candidate for The Price Is Right. “Bob, that just doesn’t smell like a $600 set of sheets, so I’m going to have to go lower.”

Destroying is one thing, but cleanup is another. Down feathers strewn everywhere are our bedroom’s version of an oil spill. It’s an environmental catastrophe whenever Madison decides to play drug lord, complete with a snow-white bedroom floor, incriminating feathers stuck to her nose and chin, and an expression of, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

While the scene looks like a still of Tony Montana from the movie Scarface, the situation is anything but static. The smallest movement creates enough of a draft to transform the room into a shaken snow globe. Even a vacuum behaves more like a leaf blower sending the feathers into a blizzard. Unless you hose down the room and mop up the wet feather-sludge, the next several months are stricken with the poor man’s shooting star—uncatchable feathers on haphazard fly-bys.

As parents are forced to sacrifice for their children, my wife and I are contemplating embracing a life of pet-unfriendly bedding, which is more accurately described as any man-made fabric that feels remotely like a loofah. Luckily, we’re conveniently blessed to live in a time when Ambien has made comfort somewhat obsolete.

Yet even with such self-sacrifice, the only remaining question is what to do with the guest room. If we choose to downgrade the room due to our precocious pooch, will we burden our guests to sleep on something approaching the comfort of Scott Tissues? “Please, come enjoy our barracks.” Chafing alone will likely limit visits to a night or two.

My wife thinks that BYOB—Bring Your Own Bedding—is tacky, but frankly, nothing short of a padlock will protect a well-appointed guest bedroom from Madison. Unfortunately, I’m not too sure a mere mortal lock combination is enough to barricade me from the temptation of Egyptian cotton melted over a pillow-topped mattress, all covered by a toasty, fluffed dream-filled duvet. “Why are you sneaking into the guest room in the middle of the night? Don’t you love me anymore?”

All of this leads me to conclude that the patchwork of duct tape stabilizing our carcassed, European heaven is also holding together our marriage—a conclusion that likely wouldn’t translate too well with the Mrs., even if it is among the world’s strongest adhesives. She thinks the tape is just ugly and prefers bedding that while unsleepable, at least looks nice.

Facing the threat of slumberless nights, I could no longer protect her from the real, underlying truth. The boogeyman loves polyester.

Thank you for your contributions to Readers’ Tails. We’ve enjoyed reading your stories and sharing them in the pages of this magazine. Beginning in 2007 we will be launching a brand new back page. Stay tuned for more details.

Eric Brown is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn with his wife, Jodi, and their dog Madison.

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