October 27, 2003


The Night the Bed Fell (James Thurber, 1933-07-08, The New Yorker)

I suppose that the high-water mark of my youth in Columbus, Ohio, was the night the bed fell on my father. It makes a better recitation (unless, as some friends of mine have said, one has heard it five or six times) than it does a piece of writing, for it is almost necessary to throw furniture around, shake doors, and bark like a dog, to lend the proper atmosphere and verisimilitude to what is admittedly a somewhat incredible tale. Still, it did take place.

It happened, then, that my father had decided to sleep in the attic one night, to be away where he could think. My mother opposed the notion strongly because, she said, the old wooden bed up there was unsafe: it was wobbly and the heavy headboard would crash down on father's head in case the bed fell, and kill him. There was no dissuading him, however, and at a quarter past ten he closed the attic door behind him and went up the narrow twisting stairs. We later heard ominous creakings as he crawled into bed. Grandfather, who usually slept in the attic bed when he was with us, had disappeared some days before. (On these occasions he was usually gone six or eight days and returned growling and out of temper, with the news that the Federal Union was run by a passel of blockheads and that the Army of the Potomac didn't have any more chance than a fiddler's bitch.)

-SHORT STORY: Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife (James Thurber, 1933-03-04, The New Yorker)
-REVIEW ESSAY: THE YEARS WITH THURBER: The man and his letters. (ROBERT GOTTLIEB, 2003-09-08, The New Yorker)

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 27, 2003 5:12 AM

Scanning the title "The Night the Bed Fell" brought a big smile to my face - one of my favorite Thurber stories!

Posted by: Kay at October 27, 2003 2:24 PM

I've found that it pays to have a copy of "The Thurber Carnival" on the bedstand. FYI.

Posted by: A Shrike Named Stoop at October 28, 2003 5:15 PM