If you’re entranced by the latest cultural throwback, a completely silent black and white film called “The Artist,” then perhaps you are charmed enough to try out another very old thing that was recently discovered – the world’s most ancient mattress.
National Geographic says the find in South Africa is a squishy pad made out of compacted grasses and leafy plants, and is 77 thousand years old. That’s about how long it has been since I turned the mattress at home. In prehistoric times and today, bed maintenance isn’t one of those ‘top of mind’ tasks.
So how good a night’s sleep could you get on a bed of Jurassic Leaves? Personally, I wouldn’t expect much. For me, it’s all in the pillow, and National Geographic doesn’t mention that kind of accessory in this bedroom set. This is the bed you set on fire every so often just to get rid of the garbage and discourage pests. So not only did they not have ‘sleep numbers,’ they just plain didn’t have numbers. And it shows in their behavior. If you can’t count, there’s no such concept as ‘too much.’ And these ancient beds are large enough to accommodate the whole family – which is the sleeping preference of people for whom the concept of one or two to a bed “is unknown.”
I take news of a prehistoric, smelly, insect-ridden family bed as just one more piece of evidence that proves we modern people are hopelessly spoiled. Our obsession with creature comforts has made us weak and whiney, and if magically transported back 77 thousand years, we would probably die in less than 10 minutes. And why not? Anything would be better than eating a still-throbbing heart from the bloody remains of some recent kill and then trying to sleep in a leafy, buggy bed. Survival of the fittest, indeed! If THEY were so fit, why are we so Unfit? And how awful will our current beds seem to people 77 thousand years from now?
What do you need to have in order to fall asleep?