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Our Universal Dreams

By Max Burbank

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"
Robert Francis Kennedy, 1968 presidential campaign

In all likelihood, RFK was not talking about that dream where you've been cutting math class all semester and now you have to take this test and you're not wearing pants, just a long shirt that if you really pull down covers about three quarters of your privates. We'll never know for certain though, and it's not like you could ask him. I've dreamt all sorts of things that ‘never were’, many of them motivational in one sense or another, but none of them really inspirational. I doubt I’d bring them up if I were running for President, at least not in situations where I might be quoted. I once dreamt I was Aqualad and I couldn’t go on mission with the Teen Titans because I’d accidentally brought along a really old bathing suit that was much too small for me, and no way was I fighting evil in an outfit where you could see just about everything. I like to think if RFK had related that dream on the stump, Sirhan Sirhan would have realized the great truth our dreams reveal; We are all, each of us, human He’d have been bowling at 12:15, June 5, 1968 instead of waving a .22 around in the food service pantry of the Ambassador Hotel. If he’d kept up his game he might be touring with the Senior Pro-Bowl instead of making pointlessly futile petitions of parole.

Have you ever told a friend an odd dream you’d had only to have them say, “I’ve had that exact same dream!”? And didn’t you want to punch them hard in eye? I mean, how dare they lay claim to your unique perspective? Just who do these so called ‘friends’ think they are? Well stay thy hand, friend! That kind of thinking is an express bus to assassination! No matter our differences, the collective unconscious unites us as a species, and this principle has no better expression than the universal dreams we all share. From Ronald Wilson Reagan to David Chapman, from Abraham Lincoln to John Wilkes Booth, from President McKinley to that guy that shot President McKinley, we all have dreams in common. To help our readers curb their homicidal lusts, we’ve compiled a list of common dreams and their interpretations. Take a look. You might see yourself in here, and who knows… maybe your neighbor, too. You know the one I mean. The one with the squinty eyes who’s always watching you.

We’ve already mentioned this oft dreamed scenario, but what does it mean? Well, for one, you’re some sort of pervert. But don’t worry, so am I and so was your Mom and your Mailman. Perversion is something we all share. More specifically, this dream shows an underlying fear that your lack of preparation for something will be exposed. Your nakedness is an indication of vulnerability caused by neglecting the things you need to do to get ready for a task. On waking, think of goals that may be troubling you and make a ‘to do’ list. "Did I take the day off from work? Have I purchased bus tickets? Do I have an alibi?" I think you’ll find the process itself calming.

“I’m in a strange city and I really need to go to the bathroom! I try restaurants, bookstores, giftshops, but everyplace has a ‘Rest Rooms are for Customers Only’ sign and I have no money! Finally I find a bus station but when at last I locate the rest room, it is a huge open air facility something like a roman bath and everyone can see me!”

First and foremost, pee! This dream most often means you have to go, but you’re too tired or lazy to get out of bed. Beyond that, you may need to express some taboo thought, and the longer it goes unexpressed, the more urgent your need becomes. What shameful thing is on your mind? Write it down, even if you destroy it immediately afterwards, leaving no evidence behind. It’s the expression that’s important, not evidence admissable in court! Maybe you’re dying to tell the boss off, maybe you long for someone unattainable, maybe you feel like they’d love you if you murdered a famous politician, whatever! Just get it out of your system before you wet yourself like a frightened puppy!

“I’m on a bus, on my way to an important meeting. I’ve got all kinds of papers and schedules I’m going over when suddenly I realize I’m supposed to be home with the baby! Did I get a sitter? Did my wife come home before I left? I can’t remember!”

This dream is fine as long as you have a baby. If you don’t, you’re probably a borderline schizophrenic capable of anything. And again with the bus! The missing baby is you, some aspect of yourself that you’ve neglected, ‘left behind’. Think. When you were young, did you dream of being important, someone everyone knew? How many years has it been since you received the sort of recognition you crave? What could you do that would make you a household name overnight? Hmmm…

“I’m watching a plane. It’s flying awfully low. Suddenly it’s tumbling over and over through the sky, coming closer and closer, and I realize it’s going to crash! I want to turn and run, but I know it’s hopeless and I can’t make myself look away! It’s so close now I can see the passengers through the window and I know we’re all going to die!”

Dreams on immanent disaster usually mean only one thing. Someone famous, probably a politician is attempting to control your thoughts. Maybe you’d better kill them.

“I’m walking through my own house, when I come upon a door I’ve never seen before. It’s locked, but I’m wearing a key on a chain around my neck (something I’ve never done!) and the key lets me in. The room is empty, the wallpaper peeling. It smells of wet plaster. I’m overwhelmed by the sensation that if I go back through the door I will no longer be in my house. I’m filled with dread and I can’t turn around.”

Yeah, yeah, fine, but what could you do with a secret room like this? Could you disguise the door? Could it be soundproofed, or lined with plastic so that visiting friends would not detect the odor of decomposition? If nothing esle, would it least make a good place to showcase a really big shrine-like collage?

"I have two large Steamer Trunks. One has a friendly Elephant decal on it. The other has a smiling Donkey. They are way, way back in the crawl space of my attic where its cool and dry. They are empty, but I am filled with the certainty that soon one of them will be full. I sit with my back against the Steamer Trunks and watch ‘Taxi Driver.”

You need to get out more. Inaugurals can be fun. Check your bus schedule.


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