Things have been a little tense recently what with the
U.S. dropping out of the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty and my youngest daughter’s first
birthday party, so this weekend I did something I’d been meaning to get
around to. I took a little ‘me’ time and built a fort out of
couch pillows in the living room. At first I had an afghan my Grandmother
crocheted for the ceiling, which was nice and airy, but I found I could
see my family yelling at me through the little holes, so after they
all went to sleep I snuck out and got a comforter out of the linen closet.
It’s a little hot and close in here, but on the upside, the cat isn’t
coming in any more.
I’m having some difficulty convincing people that this
fort is my inviolable space. I’ve asked my wife to tell visitors they should regard
the walls of my fort as if they were made of cast, reinforced concrete.
She won’t, which I consider a violation of either our wedding vows
or my oath as a Promise Keeper. My oldest daughter recently charged a school
chum a Quarter to ‘get a look at the freakshow’. I suggested that if I
had a little more cooperation from my family, perhaps I wouldn’t need
a fort, and they responded by going to the movies without me.
I don’t care. I like it in here.
I like the cozy warmth, I like the dim, golden light
filtering in from the entry hole. It reminds me of my early childhood, crouched beneath a
blanket with my flashlight, acting out scenes from the day’s Watergate
hearings with my action figures. Beyond the couch pillows the baby is
informing our neighborhood a new tooth is coming in, my wife is on the
phone with my boss telling him in broken Spanish she is only the
housesitter, she has no idea when the Boor-bang’s will be coming
home. In my fort a Bendy Captain America Senator Daniel K. Inouye grills
a Mego Planet of the Apes Cornelius John Dean.
In the stifling, oxygen starved heart of my upholstery
bunker, half baked fantasies begin to form. In the dead of night I will drag the
phone into my lair and rent a Ryder truck. I will make a final foray
into Man’s World and buy the furniture from every Salvation Army,
discard everything but the pillows! My fort will grow huge, labyrinthine, I will construct a couch pillow suit with
a drop ruffle for unavoidable trips to the bathroom!
My wife wants to know if I’ll be emerging from the
‘Fortress of Soil-atude’ for dinner, a clever reference to both my childish love of
comic books and the shocking lack of hygienic facilities within my
sanctum. Fortunately for me I pretended to have domain soundproofed a
few hours ago, so I can’t hear her, and she refuses to ring the
How long can I sustain this behavior? Indefinitely. Lots
of people do it. They are called Agoraphobic. Modern technology has come up with
multiple ways to assist or exploit them, depending on ones point of
view. Work from home jobs, the internet, cable, meal and grocery
delivery, home health aides. If I nail my couch pillows to the walls, my
home could become my fort and I could wear a single pair of pajamas for
the rest of my life. Pathetic or glorious? It depends on who’s bunny
slippers you’re standing in, my friend. The complete abdication
of all connection to the world at large is the goal of slacker pigs, the
clinically depressed, Saints and Zen Masters.
things from Max's point of view.
Wear bunny slippers.
Unfortunately, I lack the singularity of purpose to
become any of those things. I know I‘ll have to come out, and probably today. You can’t hide
forever, and the outside world offers many compensations. Springtime,
the love of Wife and Children, terrorizing the paper boy by appearing at
the door in women’s bikini briefs and a rubber pig mask, clutching a
wet, wax paper wrapped clump of calf liver... These are grown up joys
not found inside a pillow fort.
My fort is a state of mind, really. It’s a sign of
mental health that I known I can it again if I need to for an hour or so. Or barricade myself
in the bathroom for five or six years like that Obsessive/Compulsive guy
I saw on Dateline last month.
That’s the great thing about life. It’s rich with
We will not be featuring any pictures of Max Burbank in women's
bikini briefs on this site at any time. Sorry folks.