The Fourth Arm

To inaugurate this blog I’m going to try and write about something so entirely different to the content of ProlongedSigh, it’s almost silly. I’m not sure there is an issue so utterly less important than the bigger events of the world that I try to offer some thoughts to there, but strangely enough it’s the kind of issue that probably effects far more of us on a day to day basis.

I refer to the infamous Fourth Arm.

Before I explain further, it’s worth mentioning that I am and have long been a creature of the most simple pleasures. Other than those things that have obvious utility in life I don’t look for much beyond a warm and comfortable home and a degree of peace. Without going too far into the cliché of simple pleasures, good food, good company, a decent book or some music that suited my tastes would take me a long way in life.

There are few things that satisfy me to a more total and intrinsic degree than having all of the smaller details in place, and although someone of this nature might know that getting those details right can often be perceived as pedantry, I defend the brilliance of a home that just makes you happy.

The pedantic aspect comes from the principle of there being order from the ground up. If you share the view that the home is one of the more fundamental parts of your life then having your home, and all the simple things therein, right, is a great place to start in terms of broader satisfaction. This isn’t a revolutionary life science concept by any measure, but provides some context for what I’m ultimately getting at.

I do, admittedly, analyse and adjust the little things to an occasionally absurd degree and am no stranger to a peculiar look for wanting the contents of the dining room table or kitchen counter to be just so from time to time. These are things we encounter and interact with almost every day of our lives and when the tidiness situation gets out of hand I can find it chaotic and distracting. It seems perfectly reasonable that we should perfect those processes and arrangements that are so frequent and common to us.

That last sentence is key, for now I will try and explain what on Earth I meant by the Fourth Arm. One of the most simple pleasures and perhaps one of the greatest is, for want of a better word, snuggling. Cuddling, if you prefer. Not to be confused with a hug or other more pedestrian embraces, the snuggle is that sublime retreat to the sofa or bed with a loved one where hopefully cares are forgotten and heightened comfort is achieved. Often accompanied by a snooze. It is, to me, almost the exact manifestation of the perfection of simplicity.


Because every goddamned time, no matter how comfortable the sofa, bed or indeed person you are snuggling with is, or whichever arrangement of snuggling you choose adopt, be it the traditional “spoon” or other method… there is the Fourth Arm. To this day, in my experience there is only ever room for three arms and the best compromise is for one or the other to tuck the Fourth away in some fashion that results in no blood reaching the fingertips or leaves you lying there as though you possessed the ill-conceived limbs of tyrannosaurus rex.

Picture this in your head, or better yet, go away and experiment with your better half. I am absolutely, irrefutably right about this and I dare you to prove me wrong. And having discovered my utter correctness in this matter I make no apologies for having stained what might have been a previously untarnished joy of yours. The challenge is now yours as well – learn again to forget about the Fourth Arm or better yet, return to me with a suggested snuggle arrangement that is not so flawed as to include it.

Snuggling really is one of the great things in life, inherent as comfort and intimacy are to the act. And yet as close to perfection as it is, there remains that one niggling little issue that in light of my now partially illuminated nature should be known to you all as a desperate and terrible concern. Get on it folks, we’re running out of time.


1 Comment

Filed under Observational

One response to “The Fourth Arm

  1. This is a truly pertinent observation! I am a fellow sufferer of the superfluous fourth arm… all too often the fourth arm must be placed under the pillow (where, inevitably, numbness soon sets in) or folded up tight and wedged against my chest leading to diminished comfort. As far as I’m aware, the only real solution solution is to restrict spooning to a zero gravity environment so as to eliminate the build up of pressure upon the fourth arm. Another permanent but drastic solution might be amputation? Other measures which might help mitigate fourth arm numbness when in the spooning position include… snuggling in a mattress made of a highly viscous gel; creating a shallow trench or channel which the fourth arm can slot into; big-spoon/little-spoon rotation so that there isn’t a single fourth arm bearer for an extended period; encasing the fourth arm in a solid metal sheath so that blood flow can continue unrestricted.
    Good luck in your quest for total comfort!

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