Dear citizens, I know that I am not well. Amid this evening at Ford’s Theatre, my body has borne within it an abominable manifestation of political strife, and I feel my senses beginning to take leave. As the light departs my corporeal form, yearning to move on to destinations unknown, I have but one final request.
I beg of you, please commemorate my birthday with mattress sales. Downy, tufted, even memory foam: none shall be exempt from the wholesale slashing of prices. Reserve for this great endeavor a day—nay, an entire weekend, for only a weekend would suffice for the monumental scale of these savings. Throughout our fair land, postboxes spanning as far as the stately eagle soars shall be papered with announcements, each a herald to the approaching cavalry of discount mattresses.
When this grand republic was first conceived, our Founders proffered a unique conception: that every man, no matter his creed, race, or sleep number, would in equal terms be free in the pursuit of happiness. Though we have not often lived up to these ideals in practice, I implore one further leap toward them—with a bedroom blowout bonanza the likes of which no man has ever seen.
It is true that during my tenure war has tested our national resolve, pitting brother against brother in this trying time. But by the hand of providence, even the most quarrelsome of kin shall come together against our common enemy: nighttime sweating. Why merely lay down arms when there also exists occasion to lay down upon moisture-wicking fabric with pressure point relief?
Still, I do not deny the existence of deep, unresolved, and lingering divisions between our fellow citizens. For instance, some have a particular predilection for softness, and others, for firmness. My soul longs for a time when we proclaim the end of such calamity—a time when men of every stripe may finally exercise the fundamental liberties enshrined within our noble founding document, the Sixty-Day Slumber Money-Back Guarantee.
Now my breath begins to slow, and my mind returns to my love, my Mary Todd. Soon I will be reunited with our poor, sickly son Willie in the vast showroom of the heavens. Regrettably, he was not and will not be party to many glorious milestones in American history: the end of war, the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, the first rebate on a box spring.
As with many at death’s door, the legacies of my earthly affairs trouble me no longer. If the postwar reconstruction process were to falter? No matter. If the battle flag of the former Confederacy were to be adopted as a race-baiting symbol in an all-consuming culture war? I take no heed. All that concern me are deals, deals, deals!
I cannot help but be overcome by a deep comfort, even in my last moments, as I reflect upon the studied image of an entire nation finally united by a good night’s sleep, at an affordable price.
[He takes a final breath and dies.]