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.