The American Pillow

Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

I am currently writing this on a yellow pad (now transcribed) in the back seat of a Jeep Grand Cherokee en route to Athens, GA. It’s been an exciting couple of days. Best to start with the beginning.

On The Road AgainWe left on the eve of a massive storm across the southeast. A tornado already destroyed a High School in Alabama (where we were heading) but the drive was pretty pleasant – only some mild showers. I’ve only been in Alabama once but being a passenger this time around I noticed how proudly American the state is. I know this is the Deep South, but billboards proudly advertise “Made in America” for their products. I also knew we would be going through America’s Heartland and I was glad it was confirmed as we passed Heartland Gas (not to be confused with Liberty Gas).

Since we got a late start, we stopped at a Howard-Johnson a little south of Birmingham, and thus discovered the American Pillow. This is my nickname, of course. This pillow was about as thick and wide as a cement block, and it didn’t squish down very much when you put your head on it. I call it the American Pillow because only in American would someone want a pillow thick enough so they could lie down but still get enough leverage to watch TV. It was too horrid to sleep on, so I stuffed some towels in a pillowcase and had a good nights rest.

The next day was a fourteen-hour drive to Wichita, KS. With a Grande Soy Cinnamon Dolce Latte in hand (the free continental breakfast left something to be desired) we continued our journey into Mississippi. We made a pit stop in Tupelo (Elvis’ Birthplace), continued to Tennessee, went across the entire state of Arkansas (which is quite boring), into Oklahoma (which, to contrast, has an awesome 75 mph speed limit), and finally into Wichita where we bunked with a Film School Alumni.

The following day was the Iraq soldier’s funeral and is a post unto itself.


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