You probably spent President’s Day either: trying to figure out what to do with your hysterically-bored children, huddling together to keep warm, or buying a new on-sale mattress.
Why do mattress sales and President’s Day go together so well? They seem to go together like the Fourth of July and emergency-room visits. To find the answer, I did some digging into the never-wrong rock-solid truth-archives of Wikipedia, and I discovered the link!
It turns out that President’s Day mattress sales might have started in 1800 with John Adams. Adams was our first president to take residence in the newly-built White House, and he demanded that the President’s Bedroom have a distinctive mattress that was firm to the touch and solid in it’s connection to American history. So, the newly appointed Secretary of Sleep, Alfred Coattails, Jr., whose posting was quite controversial at the time, quickly located the perfect mattress — a king-size mattress made of solid wood taken from the very tree George Washington cut down truthfully as a child.
The wooden mattress was ideal when it came to historical relevance, but less than ideal when it came to comfort. Adam’s wife, Abigail, took to sleeping in a separate room which, of course, Adams took quite personally. For Adams saw “no issue with the firmness of the historic bed” and felt as if he were, every night, “resting on the bosom of American history.”
Adams was stubborn in his love of the uber-firm mattress throughout his presidency — despite a perpetually numb left arm and a physician who wanted to bleed him for narcolepsy. It was rumored that while Adams was giving a tour of the White House to his arch political rival Alexander Hamilton and boasting about the excellence of the Washington cherry mattress that Adams fell fast asleep standing up — a fact that Adams categorically denied.
After the Adams presidency, the mattress was passed from president to president — each sacrificing their nightly comfort for the sake of tradition. Thomas Jefferson said of the bed, “No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms… I wish I could feel mine.”
John Quincy Adams said, “If you actions inspire others to dream more, that’s better than I’ve been able to do for many a year.”
Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Speaking of which, could somebody fetch the presidential tweezers and help me reach the slivers in the middle of my back?”
As rumors of the terrible mattress spread throughout the country, mattress companies began to fight to have their state-of-the-art flagship mattress be brought into the presidential bedroom. After all, who wouldn’t want to buy the same mattress that Rutherford B. Hayes had drooled upon?