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June 01, 2009

The Hammock

Hammocks are one of the finest inventions humanity has ever created. A hammock is probably as close to an anti-gravity machine as we’re going to see between now and the year 2015, which is when “Back to the Future II” takes place.

The technology is startlingly simple: string a bunch of rope between two trees, get in, and voila – instant contentment. It’s hard to be pissed off in a hammock. Rarely does somebody storm out after a fight yelling, “I’LL BE IN THE HAMMOCK!”

On Sunday I spent several hours in my backyard hammock. They were the best hours of the weekend, even when my children joined me and decided to play a game I dubbed “severe turbulence.”

Children love hammocks for all the wrong reasons – they see them as opportunities to induce nausea, whereas I see them as antidotes to the slightly sick feeling that I associate with my daily life. But the hammock’s versatility just further proves its greatness; it can be a place of meditative calm or a vomit-inducing thrill ride.

My hammock was a Father’s Day present from a couple years ago, so much better than my usual Father’s Day presents, which are best described as “nothing.” It came in a big cardboard box, and I immediately went outside to string it up between two trees. Unfortunately, it turns out we do not have two adequately spaced trees on our property, so I was forced to order a hammock stand which seemed like kind of a cheat at the time but was actually a blessing in disguise because it made the hammock portable. The hammock therefore became the most portable means of achieving rapid unconsciousness at my disposal until I discovered Ambien.

I like to call the hammock my “dry womb” because it’s as close as I can get to entering the fetal state without submerging myself in expensive amniotic fluid. It’s also sort of like cocooning, but I don’t like to think of it in those terms because then I start to think about caterpillars and caterpillars are gross.

Sadly, living in cold weather climes as I do restricts a hammock’s use to about half the year. I suppose I could bring the thing inside, which the kids would love, but if I do that they will undoubtedly force me to portray Captain Bligh during countless games of “HMS Bounty” throughout the long winter. A man can only stand so many mutinies before growing annoyed. My limit is one.

The other nice thing about the hammock is that my wife tends to yell at me less when I am sleeping outdoors. When I sneak off to our bedroom during the day, she yells at me to “get my lazy ass up,” but something about the fact that the hammock is outside makes tricks her into thinking that I am somehow doing something active. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the fact that the hammock moves. Regardless she almost never yells at me when I am in the hammock, just as I never yell at her from within it. “YOU ASSHOLE!” are words that never come out of my mouth when I am in the dry womb. Because the hammock is a happy place and I am happy within.


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Ian Hamilton

When i was little, me n my cousins would fight on the hammock, n one of us would always end up falling off and hitting out heads on the metal bar that was under it. Also, I was really disappointed to see that your show with michael showalter is sold out in Chicago. I guess I'll catch ya next time.


The hammock is the one gift I've always asked for but never gotten. This year will be my first father's day as a father. I'm going to hang on to hope this year. First, I have to decide whether or not I'll wear shoes in the hammock. I hate decisions.


Hahaha, very well written. I hope I can write this well one day.



You're fucking weird.


Wait till one of your kids decides to "rock" the other. The one being rocked shoots out with considerably more violence than you might expect. Fortunately, recovery time is quick due to the healing powers of the hammock.


Perhaps it's because the hammock is outside that your wife won't yell at you? At any rate, don't ever bring it inside. The magic will very well be ruined that way.


Hammock inside= negative feng shui! Watch out!


I love your blog. You have a fabulous knack for making fun of your children without sounding bitter and hateful, a quality I most enjoy and am forever working to achieve.


I am so getting my husband a hammock for Father's Day! That's perfect! I can say it's for him and then *I* can use it every day!!! Perfect.


I think I have a slight fear of hammocks stemming from my early years...I must have been "rocked" a few too many times. I'll have to give 'em another shot; hopefully I will be able to lay peacefully in it this time around.

The Naked Redhead

Caterpillars are indeed gross. They may even be one of the grossest creatures ever. And when they become butterflies?? Even grosser...just look at that damn insect without its wings, and it's really a flying black worm. Blech.

Odin Xenobuilder

The ultimate sleeping machine.


i saw a midget in a hammock one time. no idea how the little fella got in, but watching him try to climb out with those tiny legs and arms made me laugh and laugh and laugh some more.


My first rope hammock mildewed and then some mice or something got into the shed and chewed it up for their nests over the winter. So then I got a fabric Pottery Barn one, which acts as a sail and blows the stand over, soiling the hammock. Plus it's covered in those "spinners" this time of year, or it's wet, or a big ass branch hits it and rips the fabric....so I'm going to need a new one next year or just skip it all together. Somehow the hammock makes me bitter, what does that say about me, I wonder?


I'm with Felicia, hammocks seem more trouble than they are worth. Great fun the first day you get it all shiny and new, then they get icky quick and it is more of a "Is it worth feeling dirty and dealing with spiders and the whole mess? No." kind of feeling.

Had a dream last night that I somehow ran into you, Michael, and you said that the network picked up the show for seasons 2 and 3 even before airing the first batch. Sorry that I am not that psychic dreamer chick from Medium, but my fingers are crossed that it all goes well and you all get what you want from it. I'm really looking forward to the show.


I miss my hammock. It's somewhere in the basement, hidden amongst all the boxes from the last time I moved. Though even if I could find it, I have nowhere to put it. So thanks for bringing it up in the first place.


Hammocks make me nervous. I can never get comfortable enough to fall asleep, I always feel like I'm going to fall off. This may stem from a rather painful/comical fall off a hammock I had in about 7th grade. Memories.

Seth Haber - Trek Light Gear

Great post Michael, if you can get in touch with me with your contact info I'd be happy to send you one of our awesome hammocks to add to your collection. They actually don't spin or flip so you won't need to worry about the kids sneaking up on you and inducing vomiting. They also pack down to a little pouch and only weigh a pound so you can actually take the dry womb wherever you travel, I highly recommend taking it to work or better yet, any place where other people are working.

Thanks for a great read, life is better in a hammock!

Seth Haber
Founder, CEO | Trek Light Gear
seth [at] treklightgear [dot] com

Michel Tia

Iam happy to have Michael Ian Black a friend.Iam from Ivory Coast andI ould like him to help attain my goal,forI have Kouakou Yaosubscb first andbe connectedto him. do that accoding the word f God in the Holy Bible.as a christian ,mut love my egoes.

Nickel Jean

I thought I was the only person who thinks about all the accomplishments we're going to have to make between now and the year 2015!


I have the unfortunate last name of Hammock.


I think you should seriously reconsider the cocoon idea because although caterpillars are icky, butterflies are the antithesis of icky. Rather than reverting back to a childlike Michael each time you enter your dry womb, you would exit each holy cocoon a new, improved, enlightened, and dare I say, flashier man!

Embrace your inner butterfly.
(In the manliest way possible.)


You should come to Pawley's Island, SC. There is an entire village called, "The Hammock Shoppes" where you can buy anything to make your hammock-going experience even more relaxed and enjoyable.

Cat Lady

Hammock.... Don't Leave Home Without It!
(My reason for living in the summer!)


I love that the price of the amniotic fluid is the only downside to submerging yourself in it.

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