“Go to the mattresses!” That was a much-anticipated state of affairs in the Godfather. Here’s the dialogue from one of my favorite movies:
Clemenza: That Sonny’s runnin’ wild. He’s thinking of going to the mattresses already.
Sonny: No, no, no! No more! Not this time, consiglieri. No more meetings, no more discussions, no more Sollozzo tricks. You give ’em one message: I want Sollozzo. If not, it’s all-out war: we go to the mattresses.
What does this mean anyway? I looked it up on, no surprise, the Internet and found that troops laying siege to Florence in 1530 encountered a unique defense. The artist Michelangelo used the ploy of hanging mattresses on the sides of the bell tower of San Miniato to prevent cannon fire damage. Furthermore, families fleeing the onslaught slept on mattresses on floors since they had to evacuate in a hurry. A mattress became a symbol of protection.
Well, you learn something trivial every day! Seriously, however, mattresses have found a place in many movies (most love scenes), not to mention the Sopranos on TV where the same phrase was used meaning to prepare for battle. I recently had a battle with a mattress myself while watching the very same rerun show. I love to watch movies in bed and rely heavily on Netflix. But I was struggling with the covers and got tangled up on one dark and stormy night. The top sheet had slipped from its moorings and somehow dragged the cover with it. I caught my foot, and the minute I moved it, the soda I was drinking spilled.
It was too cold and late to wash anything and I mourned the lack of foresight. I could have bought a mattress protector like these ages ago. Now I had dark beverage soaking into the foam, ruining it in an instant. The next day it was damp and sour and I knew that bad news was coming. I was going to have to buy a new mattress: an expensive lesson learned. For fifty bucks I could have had a nice water-proof cover that would have eliminated the need for replacement.
I think you only become a practical person when something like this happens and you hit your palm to your forehead and say “aha” to yourself. Needless to say, I started thinking a lot about mattresses – sizes, shapes, materials, cost, transport and installation, etc. I had to decide on what I wanted soon unless I wanted to sleep on a disheveled mess. The best deals come on holidays, a tradition we have grown accustomed to for some odd reason. Without one in sight, I was going to have to haggle a bit to get a fair price.
I have a new respect for the durability and longevity of mattresses having killed one before its time. I have learned to treat mine better and to protect it with the right cover. I got a heavy duty cloth job, no nasty plastic. It should withstand my movie time in bed just fine. I am more careful with coffee, sodas, food, and the like. Even my dog has to watch his step! I don’t want a mattress rebellion anytime soon.