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||Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM
Dad had one. Granddad had one. Johnny Carson probably had one.
An orange-colored, triangular hammock-with-fringed-pillow twenty yards from the redwood picnic set and row of geraniums.
But even though hammock time was Dad's reward for mowing the lawn--which, with a manual mower, deserved a reward--and a fixture of the 1960's, the backyard hammock always had its drawbacks.
For one thing, it interfered with sunbathing.
How could you get an all over tan with the cloth encroaching on your surface to air ratio? Roll over on your stomach and tan your back in what is essentially a sling?
And what about the Deep Hawaiian Oil stains on the fabric?
Later, hammocks interfered with multitasking.
A transistor radio with the ballgame might have been enough to keep Dad and Granddad occupied but today we're busy little Shivas.
How do you use your lap top in a hammock?
Prop yourself up on your elbow to find your cell or copy of Eat, Love, Pray in the grass?
How do you sip your iced no whip low fat skim mocha and eat your mango ginger yogurt?
How do you throw Ralph's tooth remolded waffle ball which you don't even want to touch anymore?
How do you do anything but lie there--not getting a sun tan?
In fact the hammock presents the same can't-sit-up-or-get-traction problems that retired water beds decades ago. All you could do was sleep.
The only difference is you won't ruin a hammock with a cigarette like you did with your brother's roommate's waterbed which even though he said he wasn't mad, he was.
Then there's the way hammocks look.
Unless you have two perfectly positioned trees like the photos in the travel magazines, the stainless steel frame looks as harmonious, resourceful and unobtrusive as...a wind turbine. Why do you think the ads never show the frame?
But times are changing.
The same people who said yeah right when it was first suggested that they NOT suntan--that they retire the idea forever that darker, like thinner, is always better and that he who dies with the best bronze wins--are addicted to PARASOL.
They are rediscovering the Panama hat, canopies and the joys of the night swim.
Not just because of the dermatological realpolitik that comes with age but because what does a 20 hour a week sun veneer say about your need to get a life anyway?
And there's more.
Much as people try to tune out PSAs about unprotected frolics in the yard with short sleeves and West Nile Virus; much as they disregard stories about someone Just Like You laid low or hospitalized by a lowly mosquito, there's always a chance an individual mosquito has your name on him. Actually her because the males don't bite.
Especially because peoples' love affair with PARASOL doesn't extend to DEET whose "interests" include seizures and neurological damage.
So, suddenly a piece of lawn furniture that looked like a barrier to outdoor fun is a barrier for outdoor fun.
Encased--okay, cocooned--in a hand made, woven-net hammock that rocks in the wind, you're as safe from the sun and mosquitoes as the proverbial baby.
Nor will the "bough break."
And speaking of zero gravity, if you can't reach your mango ginger yogurt or lap top, isn't that the whole point of outdoor recreation?
Dad could have told you that.
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