I started paying attention to my dream this morning when I realized I had been here before. I am the Outer Limits of dreamland. I control the horizontal, the vertical and, if I’m not happy with a dream, I simply change it or wake myself up; if I must. Occasionally I have serial dreams: continuing stories that pick up right where they ended; sometimes many years later, with exacting detail.
Location: an estate. There’s a pool, rolling hillside. I could tell after a while it looked familiar, though in life it’s no place I’ve ever been. I walk up to the pool and the wife is laying on one of those flimsy outside recliner chairs that looks like it’s brand new. You can tell they have plenty of money: lots of rich acreage; well maintained. The house is a mansion, though I’ve only gone in once during the first dream: a large, one floor mansion that follows the incline of the land, inside, with a series of stairs to many rooms…. well appointed.
She starts talking to me, “Oh, you’re back. Hope all is going well. Feel free to go inside and get something to drink, or use the pool.” She tells me where the towels are and what room to change in. She seems very sad.
Her husband comes over, a tall, thin man with hair that’s starting to turn almost silver. They’re discussing arrangements for a funeral. It’s for her daughter. About this time details start to flood back in from a dream I had well over a year ago.
“Didn’t I meet your daughter?”
“Yes, you’re her friend. She introduced us last time you were here.”
More details flood back in. She was a casual work acquaintance who had invited me over for a causal gathering of friends. Vibrant. Blond hair. Tall and thin like her father. Slightly large nose. No wonder I barely remember them but remember the estate. We had walked the grounds: her, other acquaintances and I… chatted in the mansion, but the introduction to her parents and been brief: not much more than socially polite.
“It started simply: not much, we thought it was over with but it came back. She had a blood infection.”
As they started talking again and I started to wander a bit. Then I woke up feeling deeply troubled.
This spring; just before the Nashville flood hit, I was driving away after a show and my arm started to hurt like hell. I had had a bothersome scab there, from what I don’t know, that coats and shirts kept bumping against. It would start to heal and something would open it up. Hardly ever any bleeding, I actually thought it had gone away. I looked down and my arm from my wrist half way down to my elbow was swollen: a not so pretty red and yellow; about an eighth of an inch high.
While Nashville greeted the Cumberland River in an all too personal way I suffered from about 100 degree; fluctuating, top temp while antibiotics mostly didn’t do their job. Then Doc Gaston, Jr. made me curse as I spent close to 100 dollars on this small tube of cream. I would buy it, and probably still curse at the price, again. The swollen arm turned huge moon crater and slowly started to fill in with healed skin and pus. After a second, less expensive, cream; that ironically has silver in it; or at least in the name, the moon crater started to reluctantly fill in. I still have a small scar.
Well, we now now know where the “silver” hair, and the blood poisoning, might have come from, right?
We have many warnings in life. Afghanistan? 9/11? The Russians tried to explain it to us but, as usual, we wouldn’t listen. So much easier to pretend the answers are simple and cartoon-ish: the world separated into freedom loving capitalists and those damn freedom hating, drug taking, out of control, perverse Commies. Never you mind that they were far stricter on the “bad” drugs… whatever those are at any given time… and sex: the only “perversions” some seem concerned with, than we were.
They told us that these were people we simply wouldn’t want in power: they were very, very dangerous. But instead we fed, trained and weapon-ized them, making the Ruskies force the farce of something that was a lot like what we once called “Vietnamization” on Afghanistan, leading to the inevitable collapse. Years later these “freedom fighters” took thousands of American lives on 9/11, cut off hands and some our own citizens have been literally handed their own heads on camera. These “wars” have taken thousands, if you include Iraq, of our soldiers lives. Replacing the long since dead Soviet Empire soldiers with new a new villain dynamic: them and us… and to many of our former “freedom fighters” we are now the villains in this continuing blood drenched, non-fiction, tale.
To quote, or at least paraphrase, a president who, if nothing else, suffered from some odd, fumble mouth, form of microphone dyslexia: “Is we learning yet?”
Most warnings are fair and often prove how hard headed we are. Not that our leaders pay attention even then. They just pass the ball around until a final fumble allows them to blame… the other party: even if the fumbler was a member in good standing of their own.
But what about the unfair warnings? We think we’ve fixed some problem or situation… or it is of little concern… but God, or the holier than us gremlins who follow us around on a daily basis, force us to see we are not in control. While one can blame a lot of pols from either side for lack of preparedness or response… Katrina itself just “happened.” Act of God, act of Satan, or act of Gizmo’s children: we were not, and really never are, in control. Blame BP or Obama, who as we all know personally rode down in diving bell and sabotaged that Gulf of Mex well, plugging it now is a two Stooge act of, “What the hell do we do now that that ‘solution’ didn’t work, nuke, nuke… nuke?” All we need is… Curly? Shemp? Larry? Barack is clearly Moe: thinking he has “a handle on it…” …informing us they are telling BP what to do. Oooo… that makes me feel so much better. Which Stooge do I prefer? BP is one of the other three: I haven’t figured which one yet. Meanwhile BP is hiding that identity with dispersant: sinking much of the evidence down to the bottom so fewer reporters can take damning pics. The sad news: Squidward and Bob, unfortunately, are dead, and I’d have second thoughts about eating unnaturally “blackened” seafood.
What do we do when life, mother nature, God, whom or whatever, pokes us in the eye? …and while we long to laugh at the irony, the pratfall, we also realize it’s really not funny?
The scar looks small and slightly pinkish like it did yesterday, yet I begin to wonder. My dream… an unfair warning? And what about those two black dots that seem to randomly appear in my vision: only my right eye? At first I thought it was my new glasses but now they tango in erratic fashion sans half rims. Or my aging, erratic, digestive system. Or… Or… Oh, now how about my mental health? Do I need to see yet another professional about my hypochondria? What will that do to my wallet? My reputation? My… Help! Don’t get help? Which way do I go, Ken?
It’s not as much the warnings, I suppose, but the toughness in interpreting them. And on a… grander? …scale leaders, pundits, and corporate clowns, mostly just take advantage of all this to second guess each other. Second guess each other while swinging legislative ladders that frequently hit a lot of us. Maybe they do nothing, essentially dropping the ball, or let it roll back down a steep set of metaphorical stairs, taking out many innocents. Meanwhile pristine beaches are artificially blackened, as well as formerly scrumptious sea food; ruined… wiping out thousands of jobs, and perhaps lives, in the process. And the taste? Might as well take the chance: eat it raw. Put it in the nuke, or a pan, and you might have to call the fire department, or an ambulance.
Oh, great, now another damn bill!
Sometimes laughing may be the only sane, mentally stabilizing, option, but a damn near impossible one.
I woke up this morning after that dream with a numb arm.
I think I slept on it.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved