“Harry, let me tell you about the dream I had last night.”

I don’t often remember what I dream about. Last night was an exception. Some have told me that taking melatonin inspires their subconscious to manufacture vivid dreams, often of a nightmarish bent; I, on the other hand, normally take melatonin, but last night did not, offering yet another possible example of my paradoxical processing of chemicals (for example, Benadryl, a reliable sleep aid for some, only makes me agitated).


In this dream I was attending college somewhere, at least initially. I was having a conversation with someone in the student commons when it occurred to me that I had not been to math class (a basic arithmetic course, I believe) in well over a month and had probably missed a few quizzes and tests. So I headed for the math building and discovered that the classroom was filled with faces from my high-school years. Unfazed by this apparent academic regression, I sought out the professor/teacher but she was nowhere to be seen. At this point a cafeteria aide wearing a colorful hairnet stuck her head in the door and announced that our lunch trays had arrived (it seemed perfectly natural to have our food delivered to class a la Jeff Spiccoli rather than have it served it in the cafeteria, wherever it was). For whatever reason I had been denied a tray, so the cafeteria worker promised to bring me not one but two tuna-fish sandwiches owing to the delay in service.
I took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with the girl seated behind me. I know that she was someone who was indeed in my graduating class at Concord High School, but I forget her identity now. I cast forth a number of crass and caustic jokes that weren’t funny but made the girl laugh anyway (this was as close as the dream got to representing my real-life experiences). I was so caught up in our raconteuring that I did not notice when my food tray arrived and was promptly appropriated by a girl at a desk a few rows away. By the time I caught on, the girl (also a representation of a real-life classmate and whose name I also forget) was placidly chewing away at one of my tuna-fish sandwiches, a beatific look on her slackly masticating face. “What the hell!” I thought — and perhaps yelled — and bolted over to reclaim the remainder of my meal, which I promptly gave to the girl behind me although I do not believe I was flirting with her.
At this point, the math professor/teacher materialzed behind me and began speaking over my shoulder. “You’ve missed a number of classes, Mr. Beck,” she said flatly. I turned around. The professor/teacher, who looked suspiciously like Jeanne Kirkpatrick, was holding open her grading book and pointing to a series of zeroes associated with my name. “You’ve ruined what may have been a good grade.” Only mildly flustered, I said, “I’ll make it up,” then grabbed my now-empty lunch tray. The girl who’d stolen one of my sandwiches was making for the door with a smirk on her face, and I believe she was receiving a number of compliments from the other students regarding her blatant shenanigans. Angry now, I picked up the tray and slung it in her direction like a frisbee, having every intention of beheading her with the dull edge of damned thing before she could disappear into the hallway, but it was like trying to hurl a loosely wadded napkin — it merely fell at my feet. Then I finally woke up.
I cannot account for this dream, although shortly before hitting the sack last night I did engage in a rather “heated” instant-message session. If I can string a few more of these dreams together and remember the gist of them I may be able to produce something akin to a Farrelly brothers screenplay adapted from a Jonathan Ames novel. I’ll pray to Morpheus it happens.

6 thoughts on ““Harry, let me tell you about the dream I had last night.””

  1. When most people have this dream–and most people do have this dream–it’s their pants that are missing, not their lunch. Therefore, the tunafish sandwiches must represent your pants, obviously through some kind of association with cod piece, although a lunch of fish sticks would have been a better representation of a piece of cod. The meaning of women from your past scheming to take away your cod piece is just too obvious and embarassingly Freudian to go into in a family blog.

  2. Well, the dream was noteworthy for its preponderance of female characters. That’s unusual for me. My dreams also rarely incorporate violence, although in one of them I had several years ago I was riding a down escalator and punched some guy riding up in the other direction in the face so hard that his mandible flew off. I’m not sure if this was in a department store or an airport, but this detail was not central to the plot.

  3. I think my dream involved fighting off alien werewolves using the silver content in dimes to make them dissolve in green piles of goo, and a mentor uncle being killed by a road-raging redneck with an uzi in an antique pickup truck.
    Very odd dream.

  4. Consider yourself lucky, Mr. Beck. Do you have any idea how much mercury is in tuna these days (and nights).

  5. Hmmm. In the dream someone ate your lunch.
    That shoulda been a giveaway that it was not reality and cause to experiment with other improbable courses of action.

  6. Oddly enough, I had a nightmare involving cafeteria trays last night, too. I was driving around some strip-mall hell in the suburbs, where I was supposed to be meeting a friend for lunch. When I got to the restaurant it was closed — in fact, all the restaurants were closed. I turned on my car radio, and they announced that due to an unspecified terrorist threat against Rally Burgers, all restaurants and grocery stores were closed, and all Americans would need to eat in high school cafeterias from now on.
    I found a high school, and it was packed full of people. By the time I got to the serving line, there was nothing left but a single, greasy “meat patty” and the top half of a hamburger bun. There were no plates or silverware, and the cafeteria lady just put the greasy meat directly on the cafeteria tray, and perched the half-bun on top. I tried to look for my friend, but gave up and sat down at a table to eat. Then my teeth turned rotten and shattered in my mouth. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and never could get back to sleep.
    Did anyone else dream about cafeteria trays?

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