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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dreams Ain't What They Used to Be

I used to have the most remarkable dreams.  I could regale people by the hour as their eyes glazed over and a tiny bead of drool collected on their lower lips with bizarre and incredible adventures in my sleep.

Dinosaurs and dog-skeletons, witches and sailboats, boomerang-throwing monkeys and good-old-fashioned goblins all made appearances in my dreams.  If Tim Burton had been able to see first hand one of my nightmares, he'd have thrown up his hands in despair; he just wouldn't have been able to compete.

My favorite dream was flying.  The air would become thicker and smell faintly of Elmer's Glue - as much fun to play with as it was to eat! - and I would find myself bobbing slightly off the ground, and then, by doing the breaststroke, would swim through the air.  I did not travel fast this way, but remarkably high, and I distinctly remember passing over the Sandersville Elementary flagpole as Vicki Thompson watched below in stunned admiration.

The dark counterpart to this dream was the one where I was in some public place in nothing but my whitey-tighties.  Oddly, during the dream itself, I was never particularly embarrassed by this wardrobe, nor did it cause the uproar among others one might expect; nevertheless, it did not escape comment, and people would point out to me I was wearing only underwear in the same tone of voice you might inform someone he had a little shaving cream behind his ear or his tie was crooked.  Sometimes, annoyed with people telling me what I already knew, I simply flew away from them through the thickened and glue-smelling air.  If you've never swum through the air in nothing but your Fruit-of-the-Looms, you've missed a treat, I can tell you.  (Or should it be Fruits-of-the-Loom? I'm never sure about these things.)

Nowadays, though, what I'd give for a good old naked-but-for-my-underwear dream because all I dream about is the most prosaic stuff: teaching class, working in the garden, dealing with chickens.  Dreams about my chickens are actually now pretty much the high-point of the night for me.  The other night, for example, I dreamt I was in the chicken coop with my brother Homer.  Let me say, I am frankly envious of the man's chickens.  I only have two, but he has a veritable flock.  And whereas mine have already entered henopause, when the eggs trickle down to a precious few, he has so many eggs, he leaves them in a basket on the front stoop for neighbors to help themselves.  Anyway, in my dream, Homer and I were in the coop and he was admiring my workmanship.  He actually said, "This is a great coop."  Smiling in triumph, I looked down, and lo!  There was a baby chicken!  (A chick, we call it in the trade.)  And then - at that very moment - I thought, "Wait a minute.  I can't have a baby chicken, I don't have a rooster.  This must be a dream!"

What a rip-off.  In the middle of a dream, the only remarkable aspect of which was a virgin birth among my yard fowl, my Super Ego or Subconscious or some other spoilsport, weighs in and ruins the whole thing by pointing out it's not really happening.  This never happened when I used to dream of flying.  It's like sitting through a movie with a companion who keeps talking about other movies the actors have been in, camera angles and what not, reminding you of the one thing you're trying to forget: that it's a movie.  If you can't even enjoy your own dreams, why bother?

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