the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Why a Pillow is No Substitute for a Woman


Yesterday was mother-son bonding day in the Kramer New York household.  We did a family favorite — we went to Macy’s One Day Sale with a 25% off coupon we received in the mail.  I convinced my mother that her coat was getting old, and I helped her pick out a nicer one.  The big drama began when the cost of the coat turned out to be $99.65 and the salesman wouldn’t use our coupon because he said the purchase had to be $100.  Talk about hard-asses!  Is this the same company that puts on the playful Thanksgiving Day Parade?  But my mother would not relent.  We searched for the cheapest thing you could buy in Macy’s, so we could stick it to them and still get our discount.  We ended up buying a $1.25 bottle of Macy’s “Spring Water.”  Where the hell is this spring — under Herald Square?

On the way home, we stopped in downtown Flushing, which is more of a real Chinatown than the Chinatown in Manhattan.  I took my mother to have her first dim sum.  If you have never been to this type of Chinese restaurant, dim sim is usually served in a large banquet hall.  Rather than ordering from a menu, women push these carts with different types of appetizers.  If you are kosher, forget about it!  Most of the dishes are either pork or shrimp.  You get charged a modest amount for each plate.  These restaurants get jammed on weekends, so we had to share a large banquet table with a family that didn’t speak English.  My mother was a little nervous because she was unfamiliar with all of the dishes.  I tried to act confident, but the truth was I had no idea what half of the dishes were myself.  I avoided ordering anything that looked like fish eyeballs. 

Last night, I slept on the living room couch.  This morning, I woke up and noticed that my legs were all scratched and cut, almost as if my legs were in a knife fight. 

“What in the world happened to me?” I asked my mother as she was cooking some oatmeal.

My mother is a big fan of detective shows like CSI and The Closer, so we both sat down to examine the evidence.

1)  Our first thought was that it was a reaction to the dim sum, but it seemed unlikely that this would only affect my legs.

2)  We discussed “bed bugs” in the couch, but there were no visible bites, only scratches.

3)  Despite watching “The Polar Express” last night, where the moral of the story is “believe,” we do not believe in ghosts wanting to do harm to my legs for some evil reason.

4)  My mother insisted that she doesn’t sleepwalk.  And if she did sleepwalk and come over to me with scissors in hand, she wouldn’t cut my legs.  “I would probably cut your hair.  It looks awful.” she said.

5)  Finally, our TV detective method paid off.  When I used to be in bed with Sophia, I would always wrap my legs around her legs while I was sleeping.  Being a creature of habit, I was wrapping my legs around the abrasive pillows of the couch, and every time I moved, I would scratch and cut my legs against the pillows’ zippers without even waking up!

Love hurts.


  1. Dagny

    Mmmmm. Dim sum. Thanks. Now it’s 8 a.m. and all I can think about is when the local Chinese place will be opening.

  2. Becky

    Get some bacitracin on those scratches, Neilochka, or you’ll have scars. Love hurts, but love scars scare off women, you know.

    Glad to know you were able to discard the other hypotheses so easily. Especially #4, although I can imagine saying the same to my boys someday. 😉

  3. lux lisbon

    I curse my spooning guy every night as he snores away whilst using me as a pillow and I’m left to figure out how to breath. Bastard.

  4. ms. sizzle

    please don’t sleep on the couch again. it’s dangerous!

    i love how stores now carry their own bottled water. what a marketing ploy!

  5. Two Roads

    Oh to cuddle….am I the only female out there that has no issues with cuddling?

  6. Cover Your Mouth

    I am constantly having the same issue with the nozzle of my blow-up doll.

  7. Bice

    What is it with Mother’s and their unyielding preoccupation with the length of their son’s hair (regardless his age)? “Whens the last time you got a haircut? Ma! What? I’m just saying. You always look so handsome with your hair cut nice.”

  8. V-Grrrl

    Sigh. At Chez V, the E-Man insists on a Zone Defense in bed. I never get to sack the quarterback. Sigh. This is why I don’t mind the cat sleeping on my side of the bed. A Grrrl needs some company.

  9. Leezer

    Great detective work. At first I thought you were going to say the cuts were from Sophia’s super sharp toenails, and that would have been sort of gross. So I’m glad it was merely the zippers. I wish I could visit New York over the holidays!

  10. Charming, but single

    You cuddle all night? ALL NIGHT? I’d smother you with a pillow — I’m of the school of sleep that says you cuddle and have your nice romantic time while you are awake and separate while you’re sleeping. Seriously, the last thing I want while I’m sleeping is some sweaty dude grabbing onto me and making me sweat too. Ew.

  11. steppingoverthejunk

    That is too funny, I went to dim sum last week with Chef and he made do by slapping his thigh and such to indicate which meat we were choosing. He then proceeded to tell me that one of the meatball things I was eating was testicles.

    My kids are alwys scratching their faces on the couch pillow zippers too, especially when they throw them at each other

  12. darlin't

    Neil, I love this post. You are such a good son, too. Just wanted to throw that in.

    By the way, that dim sum looks so good. I usually go with someone who is Asian so they can tell me what’s in everything. Very redneck of me, since not all Asians are familiar with dim sum! My best friend is Japanese/Korean and he has no clue.

  13. LisaBinDaCity

    LMAO @ Charming, but single! And I agree lol.

    As for Neil, well I’m pulling out my teeny tiny violin as we speak 😉

  14. Churlita

    I’m so glad you finally figured out that a pillow is no substitute for a woman. Although, wouldn’t it be nice if it were?

  15. Pearl

    Love hurts…but sometimes love can be a cushion, too.

  16. Mist 1

    We took my mom out for Dim Sum on her birthday. Everything was great except for the thing that looked like skin. It was a little to authentic for me.

  17. Bre

    Aw man, you didn’t even get to do a buccal swab!

    (ok fine, the point of this comment was to use the word “buccal”)

  18. deezee

    a sleepwalking mom with scissors…sounds like a great premise for a horror flick (a comedy, or course.)

  19. s@bd

    ummm … you need to get some new pillows.

  20. orieyenta

    I avoided ordering anything that looked like fish eyeballs.

    You’d be a dream in my Chinese family – everyone fights over the fish eyeballs.

    So did you keep Mom’s old coat for your next coat photo?

  21. Blitz Krieg

    I was spooning with the wife one night and my arm fell asleep. I attempted one of those quick flop overs to get my arm some blood without extracting it first and suffered a tear of the superior labrum. Ever since then longest I can be in that position is 15 minutes before the burning begins. Unfortunatly, we are unable to switch sides of the bed after 20 years of always being on “our own” side.

  22. jamie

    why was my comment deleted? 🙁

  23. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    Zipper bites.

  24. Ari (Baking and Books)

    Way to go Neil’s Mom! I can’t believe the Macy’s guy was such a stickler (actually, I believe it) but I’m glad she got her discount in the end. 25% off is not to be passed up!

  25. EEK

    The Macy’s Cartel just took over Marshall Fields here in Chicago. I don’t trust them.

  26. Neil

    In Los Angeles, Macy’s took over two big department stores. So, in my local mall there are now THREE Macy’s! Isn’t that insane?

  27. nyr

    So sweet indeed, Neil….love hurts in many ways….isn’t it. And I miss flushing Chinatown from Manhattan.

  28. Neil

    NYR — come on down. The 7 train from Times Square will take you right there. And since the 7 goes outside, you can used your cellphone in the subway! The restaurant I went to is called Gum Fung.

  29. Violet

    I think you should get softer cushions.

  30. It's Me... Maven

    Nothing quite like an authentic dim sum brunch! Delish! I’m overdue! The only thing (in my book) which is better than a DSB, is going for Thai food…

    Now you got me thinking!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial