Sunday, May 20, 2012

Are You Safe on Your Sofa?

Do we need safer sofas?

Maybe it's time for me to stop crashing on the couch so frequently? Nicholas Kristoff Op-Ed piece in the NY Times suggests that my couch may be laced with noxious chemicals that are lowering my IQ, disrupting my endocrine system, and increasing my risk of diabetes.

That explains a lot, actually....

Crashing on the couch night after night just works for me. I spend lots of time at the computer in my home office, reading, writing, and thinking things great and small until I need a break, usually around 11 pm, or something with an 11 in it (3:11 is nap time!). Then I slide over to the napping couch, which is also the (TV, CD, DVD, VCR, DVR, Wii, AM/FM Stereo Surround Sound, snacks and drinks on the coffee table) Entertainment Couch. One thing leads to another, and soon, patterns of awareness move from the real to the surreal, and -zzzzz.

Last night, for example, I tuned in to SNL's season finale and caught the emotional musical send-off for retiring 7-year SNL veteran Kristen Wiig. Arcade Fire, Dave Grohl, Steve Martin, Jon Hamm, and host Mick Jagger sang to Kristen as Lorne Michaels and the cast danced her one by one to her bliss. That moment was epic, and I was there! In real time! I was so pumped, it took at least 30 minutes of channel surfing before I calmed down enough to pass out.

The couch has a purpose.

But here's the rub: because many a smoldering cigarette has ignited many a couch cushion, the tobacco industry has pushed for laws requiring flame-retardant chemicals to be added to couches. All couches. Even couches of non-smokers. The consumer has no choice in the matter. Want a couch? And really, who doesn't?  Then be prepared to inhale toxic dust from flame-retarding chemicals in the cushions.

OK, now I am wise to the dangers of sleeping on my sofa. I suppose I could slog up to my bedroom when it's time for rest, but how do I know my bed is any safer?