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Sometime after Bruce and I returned from the war, we got to reminiscing about the things we missed about serving our country. Certainly the camaraderie of corps, the singularly and spectacularly bad food, pressed combat fatigues, the latest in military weaponry, and a bed made so tightly, one could bounce a coin off of it. And bounce coins we did. I remember one night, I won $ 163.00 bouncing on the… sorry, that’s another story. And don’t ask Bruce either, he won big that night as well.

Not Bruce. Neither of them.

A tight bed. Who could ask for anything better? Room for another to be certain. But a bed made so beautifully, it was almost a sin to throw back the covers. One would just as soon sleep on top of it then muss it up. Good times indeed.

Making a bed the right way is something that takes years to master and perfect. Strict adherence to the process bordering on anal is to be desired. That said, it is an activity best done by oneself (to preserve the relationship) as another will not share your obsession with this. More’s the pity for them. Let them sleep on a futon if that’s the cavalier attitude they strike.

Bruce and I are of somewhat different dispositions on how to make the proper bed. There are a number of ways, some of them correct, others just poor excuses for covering up the wrinkled bed linens. Both of us do prefer different styles that are both correct. In a third-party competition, the measurements of bounce height and rapidity of levitation between the two styles were virtually identical. Neither of us came away with a clear cut sense of victory.

To ensure our continued friendship, we will only discuss one style of bed-making. Since the results were so close as to be indistinguishable from each other, we flipped a coin. On a bed of course. Bruce won so he’ll be sharing his method for making a proper tight bed.

No bed can be properly made without fresh bed clothes. All components must be freshly laundered and still warm to the touch from the dryer upon placement on the bed. This is particularly welcome in colder climates. In the summer, line drying, then ironing is the preferred method.

Of course the quality of the linens is paramount. We recommend a 12oo count Peruvian cotton/hemp blend. It provides an incredible softness with just a touch of civilized rusticity that will remind you of a lodge in the Adirondacks.

But before you even do that, you must have a proper bed. No self-respecting bedder would purchase a bed with a name that starts with an “S”. Yes, that’s right – no Serta, Sealy, Stearns and Foster, Simmons, or Sleep Number. It’s too confusing. We recommend beds by Royal Fumwick Foamerpedic. Our families have used our original Royal Fumwick mattresses for over two decades, and with only an occasional mold problem, they have served us admirably.

So now that you know what kind of bed to purchase and what kind of linens to dress the bed with, you’ll need a few more items to complete the process. The first thing will be new pillows. Thankfully, Royal Fumwick makes a wonderful line of head support that match the coverings on their mattresses. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Would you?

Next you will need a blanket/quilt, whatever to keep you warm. Blankets by Pendleton are not acceptable. What are you, a tree hugger?! That would be too great a mold smell along with the mattress. A down comforter is perfect. Just make sure to purchase a corresponding duvet cover with a high count Peruvian cotton/hemp blend. It is so worth it.

Mrs. Crosby.

You are now ready to make the bed. Assemble all the items you need on the bed, again making sure the bed clothes are freshly laundered and dried. Next, call your housekeeper (in our case, the indomitable Mrs. Crosby) and tell her the bed needs to be made. It’s late and you need your sleep.

Bruce and I were discussing the sorry state of the world the other night in our comfy gentlemen’s leather club chairs, complete with matching ottomans. while smoking some very fine Cuban cigars, (our houseboy Mickey gets them from his family in Cuba) and swilling some vintage Port I picked up at the duty-free shop in the local Walmart. It was ideal. All that was needed was a fire in the fireplace, snow outside, and the tender attentions of our housekeeper, the widow Mrs. Crosby, (no relation to the singing family of Bing or David).  But we had given her her notice as times have gotten a little tight around Bruce Manor. But, that aside, life at that moment was quite good.

The modest guest house at Bruce Manor. (vacationhome rentals.com)

So after having read the evening newspaper, the last remaining one we must say and we are creatures of habit after all, Bruce and I were quite distressed about what has become of contemporary journalism. We are not suggesting that every thing written be of the level of discourse as one would experience at the Algonquin Round Table, (both of us having turned them down for inclusion; they are such snobs!), but at least perhaps with some level of thought, a soupcon of wit, intelligently written, with minimal illustration, and much insight sans opinion. Is that too much to ask? Is it?

So, it came to us after the second or third bottle of that heavenly Port, that we realized that almost everything written today is a cliche or a pale avatar of a cliche. That does however, beg the question: when does something become a cliche? In our younger years we would have replied, “Why, when we say it is so.” But truth be known, we have mellowed quite a bit since our halcyon days and reserve our rapier-like wit for those who are genuinely deserving. Or perhaps it’s the effect of the last bottle of that divine Port. Does it really matter when one’s thoughts are so pithy and insightful? An emphatic “No”.

But always say “Yes” to a glass of Port. (portwine.com)

So what, gentle reader, we’re sure you’re asking, has gotten us into such a tizzy? Why it’s the self aggrandizement people, places, or companies practice in describing themselves. This is what we mean.

Can a company or an individual describe themselves as “World Class”? How do you know how you stack up against some of the most formidable competitors when you’re doing business in Claymont, DE? Isn’t that up to the world to decide? And just what is “World Class”? Is it a level in elementary school? Is it like detention for dictators? It’s been our experience that anyone declaring themselves, their company, or an acquaintance “World Class” generally isn’t. If you are, the world knows it. If you’re not, the world is probably trying to tell you something. Listen to it!

Another one that really hacks Bruce off is “State of the Art”. He likes to jest, “Which state?” or another of his favorites, “Whose art?” Or after copious amounts of Port, “I don’t know much about art, but…”  He loves the duality of that last one. He can be so esoteric sometimes. What does “state of the art” really mean? We contend there is no such thing as “state of the art”. Oh, at one time, we might have admitted to that. But now? Hardly. “State of the Art” used to mean the latest of a specific thing, process, or service. Which today would give it a life-span of approximately three nano-seconds. As our uncle, Bruce from New York would say, “I’ve got your state of the art right here! Now get away from me with that!”

No, we advise it best to stay away from cliches. We’re so over that.