The glory and might of a good old fashioned pillow fight

Back in the early 1990's, when I was living in Attleboro, MA with my best friend, Bengi, in a home we affectionately referred to as The Heavy Metal Playhouse, we engaged in some of the most epic pillow fights in history.

After sunset, the shades would be pulled, the lights turned out, and anywhere from four to eight of us would use pillows, sofa cushions, and even stuffed animals to wallop one another in the near-pitch dark. The sofa cushions has zippers, so they would occasionally leave scratches across faces, arms, and legs, but we wore those scratches as badges of honor.

Couches would be tipped over to provide cover against frontal assaults. Temporary alliances would form out of desperate necessity. Smaller pillows would be fired as projectile weapons across the room. Occasionally a guy and girl would disappear into a corner to make out until discovered by some pillow-wielding attacker who would quickly break them up.

These pillow fights could go on for hours. They were glorious.   

I feel like we could all benefit from a few more pillow fights in our lives.

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Of course, not every pillow fight ends well: 

  • In 1921, the New York Tribune reported that a small boy named Charles Hunton fell from his six-floor winder after having a pillow fight with his brother Arthur. Although Charles was knocked unconscious, a hospital examination found no broken bones or internal injuries. When asked how he was feeling, the boy nonchalantly said he was “fine” and asked for some ice cream.
  • New York police responded to a hospital riot in 1953, but found something more unusual: The New York Herald reported that rival wings of a narcotics ward at Riverside Hospital erupted into an intense pillow fight. Seventy-two men engaged in the melee before armed police came to shut it down. The brawl started at around 10 p.m., but was quelled within 45 minutes. 
  • Leave it to the police to ruin yet another good pillow fight. In 2009, a public pillow fight planned at Campus Martius Park was shut down before it even began. Detroit Free Press said police arrived at the scene and sent potential fighters home. "We don't have a problem with consenting adults hitting each other with pillows, but the issue becomes cleanup," Detroit Spokesperson James Tate said.