In college it was fun to pull pranks on each other – stretch plastic wrap across a toilet beneath the seat, Scotch-guard a towel so it repels water rather than absorb it, or, my personal favorite, put chicken bouillon in the shower head so the unsuspecting bather thinks someone is making chicken soup, and so does everyone who comes in contact with them for the rest of the day. Pranks are fun, but we are supposed to out-grow them.
I don’t know who invented the duvet, but I’m going to blame it on the French; both because of how it sounds versus how it is spelled and because it is easy to blame things on the French. In my mind, two French college grads were reminiscing about their college days when one of them said, “I have a great idea. Let’s sew bedsheets to quilts. We can sell them to hotels as a cheap alternative to buying both sheets and quilts and pull off the ultimate prank at the same time.” They did, and it worked. All hotels seem to use this bedding alternative, so these French guys are rich. At the same time, folks around the world are losing sleep from being too hot under a quilt and a sheet or are cold because the alternative is nothing at all. All the bed clothes or no bed clothes – you choose your fate.
The Israeli’s take the prank a little further. They start with an uncharacteristically chaste setup of separate beds for couples. A few hotels give the illusion of togetherness, by pushing the beds (mostly) together and stretching a giant bottom sheet across them, and, of course, a single duvet covers the whole arrangement. Reality hits home when I am foolish enough to approach the center line in “no-man’s land.” As I scooch amorously out of my territory I disappear into the crevasse between the beds and realize I have been caught in an Israeli bed moat. I climb out of the moat on my own side since I do not know what other booby-traps may await me. Concluding that sleep is my safest option I attempt to cover my body with the demonic duvet. It doesn’t even make it to my armpits; I pull harder; nothing happens. I think somebody short-sheeted my bed. No, this is more diabolical – the duvet is short. I kick at the bottom of the bed until the accursed covering is fully untucked. Feeling triumphant, I pull the duvet up to my pits and see my feet pop out of the bottom. It’s okay – I’m too impressed by the Jewish upgrade of the French prank to be angry.