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What was once everyone’s dream bed in the 70’s, 80’s and the first two years of the 90’s, has now floated (HA!) away into near obscurity.  Honesty, I blame the rise of grunge music. Once people started taking music serious again (thanks a lot Soul Asylum and Gin Blossoms!), people started thinking that sleeping on a liquid-filled mattress seemed just way  too silly.  You couldn’t be all serious and grungy if you were listening to Rage Against the Machine or Nirvana on a wavy ass waterbed.

I, myself, had a waterbed. It definitely wasn’t of the waveless variety. You felt everything. You would turn to the side and rock back and forth for about 5 minutes. There was no heater or thermometer, so in the winter it was like sleeping on a block of ice and in the summer it was like sleeping on a hot tarp.  I filled it up using the garden hose and never added any chemicals to it. Things were growing inside the mattress and I could observe them because it was totally see-through. My spine looks like a question mark because I had zero back support.

Sometimes, when the water was too low, I would simply lay on the wooden bottom, entrenched by my waterbed. “It’s like being hugged by an old octopus”, I’d tell myself. I enjoyed the sloshing sound that the water made inside the mattress. To this day, when I walk along a beach and I hear the ocean gently lap against the shore, I am reminded of those days and think, “That sounds like the slapping of my young manhood.”  Or something like that.

Today there are billions of people who don’t even know what a waterbed is. Ask anyone who is under the age of 18 today what a water bed is and you will probably get answers like, “Waterbed? For realz? What is that?”  Are they really all gone? Maybe a few have survived. No one knows the exact numbers, but it is sad to see them go from the American mainstream.  And what about all those waterbed stores???!? All those people who were once waterbed salesmen have now either lost their jobs or are dead.

But I’ll never forget you waterbed.

RIP 1968-1992


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