This is going to be hard for some of you to hear, so I’m just going to say it: No one cares about your dreams. This shouldn’t be particularly surprising since no one cares about you when you’re awake, either. “I had the craziest dream” is code for “Go ahead and zone out because I’m about to waste three minutes of your life.” This is a universal truth, regardless of if the nocturnal hallucinations come from your damaged imagination or Hollywood’s. It’s always disappointing when something in a movie or on TV turns out to be a dream sequence. Everything in it was pointless since it didn’t actually happen, unlike the rest of the fictional show, which was also pointless because it didn’t actually happen. My dreams are just as useless as everyone else’s, but they have the added bonus of being insulting in who they exclude. To date, I’ve never had one that includes my kids, and my wife only rarely makes cameo appearances. This differs greatly from my wife’s dreams, all of which involve her yelling at me. It’s good to know her subconscious thinks I’m a jerk, too. She really gets me.
|You’re not really married until your wife makes you apologize for something you did in her dream.|
The only recurring dreams I have pertain to high school, college, and my brief stint as a newspaper reporter. These are the three most meaningless periods of my life, which says a lot given how little purpose my existence has overall. Having an irrelevant dream about an irrelevant time in my past creates a vortex of suck so powerful even light can’t escape, which is probably why my sleeping mind gets stuck there. I’d like to think I involuntarily revisit these episodes because my brain craves the conflict it’s unable to find in my present life, but in reality I’m forced to meet with human resources on an almost daily basis. In case you wondered, it’s never OK to celebrate someone’s birthday by setting off smoke grenades. In my defense, I didn’t realize they contained tear gas.
My mind fixates on the distant past rather than recent times simply because it hasn’t recorded anything new in years. As I’ve grown older and wiser, I’ve gotten better at not caring. With wisdom comes apathy, and I wield mine like a force field. My indifferent mind refuses to remember new traumatic memories, so it fixates on the last ones I was dumb enough to keep around for posterity. When I close my eyes, the gray matter inside my skull dredges up unpleasant experiences, no matter how far back it has to go. Given how many hours a day I sleep, my brain spends roughly a third of my life actively working against me. Clearly complex nervous systems are overrated. Jellyfish might be on to something.
|Jellyfish don’t have nightmares. They also inflict searing pain on everything they touch. If there were high-speed Internet underwater, I’d switch species right now.|
My brain has to work extra hard to make me miserable since I spend my waking hours in a world devoid of penalties and incentives. I’m not so much an employee as I am a permanent office fixture roughly on par with a desk or a lamp. The last time I checked, companies aren’t handing out promotions to furniture, which is why light fixtures are an underrepresented minority in management. My only job is to exist, and even on that duty I flake out. It’d be sad if this weren’t what I’m perfectly suited to do. If anyone deserves to be paid for being useless, it's me.
My subconscious mind refuses to let me take pride in the way I’ve honed this craft. Instead, every time I fall asleep, I drift back to one of the dark times when people held me accountable for my actions. In the high school dreams, I forget to study for a test, probably in religion. Only I could miss the question, “Why does God love me?” Apparently the answer they were looking for wasn’t “because He has poor judgment.” In the college dreams, I miss every lecture for a class I didn’t realize I was in. This would be a problem if I went to Harvard, but at my school the average ACT score could be mistaken for the point total in a hockey game. Even without attending any classes, most courses could be aced by the dimmest students and the brightest goats.
In the newspaper dreams, I botch a big story on something I was under massive pressure to cover perfectly for 87 cents an hour, like a kitten with six toes or yet another elaborate week-long fundraising event, from which a grand total of $9 will actually go toward fighting cancer. For some reason, the stakes were always highest in the fluff pieces. If I accused someone of murder, they shrugged it off, but if I said the guy who organized the charity ball was Philip with one “L” instead of two, he’d be on my voicemail an hour later threatening to kill my family. All of these dreams create a false sense of panic I no longer experience in real life, and I have no idea how to deal with it. Instead, I fumble my way through each scenario until I remember I already finished school and found a slightly less terrible job, at which point I wake up tired and annoyed at having wasted my brain power. I don’t exactly have a lot to spare.
|To get rid of bad dreams, you could spend years in therapy or just flare your nostrils and jab your brain with a spoon.|
To the surprise of no one, I’m programmed to be unhappy. I haven’t had a chance to screw up my life in a while, so my subconscious compensates by making me constantly relive past disappointments. I’m hardly the only defective person around. The world is full of octogenarians who still have nightmares about nuns with rulers. By that point, it’s probably more of a fetish than a school flashback, but that’s between them and the Viagra. My dreams are never about people, just me and failure. That’s why I can’t get rid of them: They emerge not from what I do but from who I am. It turns out I’m a self-loathing narcissist. If you look it up in the dictionary, that’s the exact definition of a blogger.