Reub's journey

13 October 2011

The Foam Man

This is The Foam Man's idea of advertising. It's on the exterior of the little building that he shares with a car stereo place. It is, of course, a foam man, and he's been there as long as we have been here.

We moved here in 1998, and I'm kind of shocked when I realize how often I have been to this place: The Foam Man, Corvallis, Oregon.

I mean, how often do you really need foam? For us, apparently once every couple of years. Foam for cushions, a dog bed, what else? We shipped a guitar packed in foam to Australia. 

 These words came from Yelp, an online review site:
I love that this place still exists. It's one of those stores that you think would fail in a week... but it's still there year after year. They sell... foam...Michael N. from Seattle


 Any kind of foam you might want. There is a surprising array of foam.

I was accompanying John, who was looking for a wedge to elevate his head at night. His doctor had sent him to The Foam Man. Naturally I was dying to go along.

This time we asked him how he got into this business; how did he decide to do this?

He glanced up at us, and said with surprising directness: "You've heard of going postal? Well, I used to be a firefighter for many years, but I hated my supervisor and finally I came to the conclusion that I must kill my boss. Yes! I would murder my boss, and I would go to prison, and the government would take care of my family. So I spent some time in a padded cell, and when I came out I cashed in my retirement and bought this business. Been doing it ever since."

John made a lame joke about "the padded cell being a huge inspiration" and I took a hurried snapshot.

When you ask questions like that, you never really know what you're gonna get.


  1. oh lordy. you know how they say there's some truth in every rumor? wonder how much truth there is in his statement?! :)

  2. Foam for every occasion! I like the signs.

  3. omg, thats a freaking lot of foam! haha :D

  4. wow bizarre. But in a way you can see why he would like to work with foam, it's so relaxing after fire fighting and if you get angry you can just punch a piece of foam! That foam man is also weird :)

  5. We too have a local foam store.That stuff is not cheap.

  6. Fantastic post! FOAM. Yay for foam.

    I'm thinking I need to take a journey to Oregon to visit friends in Portland and my family in Eugene. I would love to meet you, Kerry, and perhaps go shopping for foam. Ya think?

  7. twg:lordy is right. He didn't seem like he was kidding, at all.
    Rebecca: Foam for so many many occasions.
    GG: He saves every scrap, and eventually somebody, for whatever weird reason, buys it.
    Jenny Woolf: Foam-punching!! One more excellent reason for foam's existence.(Must say, having you show up here makes me want to go out and get your excellent book on Lewis about a weird character...)
    ER: John's wedge cost $35! That's a lot, but probably cheaper than decongestants.
    REYA! Please let's get in touch when you visit OR! I would just love that.

  8. Poor foam man, he's been there so long he's hanging his head in shame.


  10. Reya: Big big smiles for your 3-paw dawg! Too bad fb just has a "Like" option and not a "Love" one!

  11. Kady: I know, right? That's just what I said when we walked out his door.

    Friko: It's either shame or maybe just sheer exhaustion?

  12. Fantastic blog entry! The Foam Man is a Corvallis institution. I grew up with this place. Now that I live in the far reaches of the galaxy, it's nice to be able to find a place on the interweb where I can close my eyes and breathe in the fresh aroma of foam. :) I'm glad you captured a picture of The Dude himself, too.

    1. Hi Anon! So fun to see your comment this morning! I pictured you being nostalgic for your old hometown, and...googling... "Corvallis Foam Man" !!?? Wow, awesome.


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