I Dreamed I Conquered the World in my Maidenform Bra

January 31, 2010

I rarely remember any of my dreams, unless I’m woken up unexpectedly during the night and I don’t place any stock in them as predictive or even especially insightful. The latest word on them from scientific research is that they are somehow connected with the consolidation of long-term memory. Consistently interrupt someone’s dream cycle and their ability to learn new skills plummets. Click on images for larger size.

Still incompletely understood, dreams may be the by-product of a shuffling and filing system that the brain uses to store information. The symbolic analysis promoted by that cocaine-addicted doctor from Vienna, among many others, has been thoroughly demolished by recent fMRI studies and the explosion of information in brain research in general over the last 15 years. Like anyone ever really believed that a dream about a train going into a tunnel was about fucking.

For some reason I’ve been waking up around 4 or 5:00 am for the past several nights.  As a result I’ve been able to recall what I was just dreaming about. Here’s one of them:

I’m a background player on Saturday Night Live in 1977. Buck Henry is the host and we’re rehearsing a sketch about a naive young couple, Buck and Gilda Radner, who’ve walked into an underground head shop, mistaking it for a store selling religious paraphernalia.

The jokes are along the lines of the owner, played by Dan Ackroyd, explaining that the black light poster of Jim Morrison is Jesus before he grew his beard, etc.

It has the feel of the classic SNL Greek Diner sketch — Cheeburger, Cheeburger, Cheeburger, No Coke, Pepsi — funny in an observational way, without punch lines. When John Belushi pulls out a huge baggie of pot from behind the counter, the “joke” is that you’ll need “a pretty big incense burner” to use up all that incense.  Apparently, “a pretty big incense burner” is a running catch-phrase.

At one point I ad lib a line, a bold move as I don’t have a speaking part, and Ackroyd and Belushi crack up. My personal comedy gods have smiled on me and I’m in Seventh Heaven. “We’ve got to keep that in, it’s great!” says Danny. Life does not get better than this, I’m thinking.

Running through the sketch for the umpteenth time, Belushi fumbles the ‘pot as incense’ gag and angrily exclaims, “Ah, what the fuck! It doesn’t matter. I’m going to OD on this or something else, anyway.”

For the second time, I speak up and say in a completely straight and somewhat sad voice, “Yes, that’s right. That’s exactly what’s going to happen.” This stops everyone in their tracks. They all look at me uncomfortably, including Belushi. Somehow it’s understood by every person on that stage that what I’ve just said is absolutely true.

At that moment I wake up and find that I’m crying.


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