moon pod

Speaking as an old guy, I have back issues. This is an almost inevitable consequence of twenty years in cubicle office jobs followed by an even more sedate career as an author. Typing and sitting, you end up doing both a lot. It’s funny that for all the time we spend sitting, we don’t really give that much thought to what we sit in. At the office, you get whatever chair is available where all four casters roll when you want them to roll. At home, you shift from recliner to couch to bed, trying to balance out the deficits of each with variety.

My kids heard me complaining about my back one time too many while they were scrolling through social news, and started chirping about this crowd-funded beanbag chair they’d heard about. I scoffed right away. “Beanbags,” as I remember them, were done decades ago, right beside the waterbeds everybody bought and then discovered they were like sleeping on a Tilt-A-Whirl. I remember beanbags as shifting sacks which inevitably sprung a leak, leaving you sweeping up styrofoam pellets everywhere.

Nope, the kids insisted, this was different. They had an autistic friend at school whose mom got her a Gravity Blanket, which is supposed to help with autism spectrum symptoms by giving light pressure all over the body. Sure, I’d heard about this innovation, and found out the same engineering minds were producing what I came to know as the Moon Pod. So they’re trying beanbags again, but with modern engineering behind it this time. The kids chipped in for a Moon Pod and I was getting one shipped for early Christmas.

I was just through contemplating the expense of shipping a whole chair, when it arrived and I found out it was much cheaper to ship because it only weighed twelve pounds. That’s the first thing I liked about it, was that I could move it. I can carry it around from room to room, so here I am in a basement office working, but I can just fling it upstairs and now it’s perfect for living room reading by the picture window watching the first snow of the season fall. Before I have to go outside and plow it.

This is not properly a beanbag, because it’s filled with some space-age material that’s got friction to it, so it doesn’t just feel like sitting in mush. Also, it’s built with this bean-pod shape, so it sits up straight for typing, leans back for gaming and reading, and then before you know it you try leaning all the way back and it’s comfortable enough to sleep on. The covering is stretchy but durable, and I find out it’s machine-washable too. It is able to withstand the full force of a grown man with a middle-aged spare tire collapsing after coming in from plowing the snow off the sidewalks. The Army should look into ordering these.

It accomplishes what I never thought a beanbag chair could do: It provides crucial lumbar curve back support, and neck support for just about any angle you hold your head. It’s best described, if you’ll humor me for a moment here, as the furniture equivalent of one of those ASMR videos on YouTube. It gets out of your way when you want to move, taking just enough effort to change its shape, but then stays firm once you’re adjusted to your desired position. Ten minutes later you forget you’re sitting on anything at all.

Like the Gravity Blanket, the Moon Pod is supposed to be therapeutic for autism-spectrum disorders, and people with anxiety and stress. I’m not about to speculate on those, but I can say it helps with bad backs. I really don’t ask a chair to be my therapist, just to be there for me when I’m tired of standing up. The Moon Pod has become a comfortable nook in my home, and since the kids got it for me, it is unquestionably “dad’s chair” – reserved for me only.

Obligatory dad joke opportunities include reclining in it all the way while giving an astronaut countdown, since it’s a Moon Pod. It looks like it came from the future anyway.