I Experienced a Christmas Miracle

And baby there’ll be
Dancin’ in the streets
For the miracle


I hope all my readers will experience a Christmas miracle. To some, a miracle may take the form of an unexpected kindness from a stranger. To others, it might involve a baby in a manger. And to others, it might be simply be a feeling of peace and well-being.

My miracle involved a pillow and $14.

Here’s how my Christmas miracle went down:

A few weeks ago, after blinding shoulder pain had been keeping me awake at night, I thought it might be time to trade in that Walgreen’s $5.99 pillow for something a little better. I had a 20%-off coupon for Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and, guess what? As per the “Bed” part of their name, they sell pillows. Good ones! So off I went.

Man, it’s hard to buy a pillow. Even when, despite uncomfortable stares from other shoppers, I lie down on the floor to test it. You can’t tell how a pillow is going to feel just by poking it or leaning your head onto it where it sits on the shelf. Still, even if it’s comfortable on the floor of BB&B, how do I know it’s going to work at home, in my bed, while I sleep?

Summoning the wisdom of thousands of shoppers before me, I went with the age-old guideline: more expensive equals more better. I settled on this Tempur-Pedic pillow, which “only” cost $70.00. But I figured, for that price, it must work, right? Even for my weird body. How could a pillow that expensive not be comfortable for every living person on the planet? So I bought it, and I kind of hated myself.

At first, it felt great. I was definitely comfortable lying on my back. Unfortunately, I cannot fall asleep on my back, so the true test came when I rolled over to my side. Hmmm. Shift over a bit? Scrunch it up a little? Move it to the left? No. Not comfortable. Gritting my teeth, I forced myself to sleep. It’s not easy to sleep with gritted teeth and a determined grimace, so I didn’t really sleep at all.

But I couldn’t face defeat. It had to work. Not only because I dreaded another pillow-buying excursion, but because I had cut off the tags. I know! You’re not supposed to do that. But I was so sure this would be my pillow for the rest of my life, I cut those suckers off with wild glee and only a fleeting sense of guilt.

After four nights, tho, I had to admit this pillow was broken. It just did not work for me. I faced a lifetime of sleepless nights until my mom convinced me to try returning it.

So I showed up BB&B, carrying this naked pillow in a plastic bag. It felt so embarrassingly personal—this bare, un-tagged pillow that I had lain my head on, and I was parading it through the store and up to the clerks at the customer service counter.

But, lo! The angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they took the damn pillow back–no tags, no box, no problem (I did still have the receipt). Not only that, they credited my Visa rather than give me the silver medal of store credit.

But that, my friends, is not the miracle.

I had to wait for the nice old man—obviously a temp clerk working the holiday season—to figure out how to handle a return. I was so grateful they were taking back the pillow, I didn’t care how long I had to stand there, sweating in my coat. I was in such a jolly mood I considered buying a talking monkey keychain, whose label tantalizingly promised “With IEEEEEEEEEEE Sound.” Unfortunately, many other sweaty shoppers before me must’ve been tempted by the button on the keychain that produced the sound, because none of the monkey’s heads emitted the “IEEEEEEEEEEE” sound. ANYway, the nice clerk called a supervisor to approve the credit, and before he handed me back the original receipt, he said, “Oh, I forgot to take off for the coupon.” The supervisor looked at the receipt, looked at me, and looked at the clerk. We waited for her response. The monkey keychains waited—in silence. “Forget it,” she said. I got the original amount I paid plus the $14.00 taken off for the coupon plus a look from the supervisor that said, “Next time, you won’t be so lucky, pillow girl.”

So, I’m back to my flattened Walgreen’s pillow, but compared to the expensive model, it feels pretty good. And maybe—just maybe, that’s the real Christmas miracle.

Or not.

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Barry Manilow! (for Kathy)