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Ed Smith: Dream on


Published on July 15, 2017

Shakespeare’s Hamlet was busily contemplating suicide one day when he was feeling down — which was most of the time — when a thought suddenly struck him.

Ed Smith column head

“Good Lord, Hammy” (my words not William’s), “suppose we have a tendency in that ‘sleep of death’ to dream the way we do when we’re alive. Such dreams could be awful. We should be careful what we wish for.”

That’s a free interpretation of the “To be or not to be” soliloquy, in case you didn’t recognize the similarity in style and tone.

Some people say they never dream, not ever, not about anything. They close their eyes when they hit the pillow, and next thing they know the Significant Other is kissing them awake.

Right. Or is that another dream?

Still others claim they begin tossing in a maelstrom of mangled characters and twisted plots while they are still staring at the ceiling. One scenario pours itself into another without connection and without meaning or direction. Some characters are people you have met but have no connection with anyone or anything in your life now. You “awake” from some other places and things screaming for release. And still others you try desperately to cling to because they bring a depth of peace and comfort to your soul that you know you will never feel again, awake or asleep.

Once or twice you are pushed down into a place so empty and grey- lonely, that you fear if you awake with this inside you, you will, without doubt, let them bring the curtain down. It is so real and substantial, a place without bottom and without redemption.

Mostly, I have to confess, my dreams are negative and disturbing, and run the gamut from being faintly irritating to out-and-out screaming nightmares.

That’s the place Hamlet feared most.

I am one of those who dreams incessantly. All the time. Without a break.

Usually my dreams seem to have little to do with current reality. Sometimes they take me back to more distant times and happier memories of hunting and fishing with my son and my father. Or excursions for picnics and boils-up with the kids when they were small. These are almost spiritually healing in their effect for the next day or two.

When the dreams are more or less neutral, they arouse a curiosity as to what they can be about. Sometimes, for example, I “awake” to find various people standing around my bed and gazing dispassionately at me, without the least interest. Their faces are carefully neutral. It is never anyone I know or have known, so I rule out anyone on “the other side” just waiting to get even with me for something — old students, old friends all teachers. One never knows.

Mostly, I have to confess, my dreams are negative and disturbing, and run the gamut from being faintly irritating to out-and-out screaming nightmares.

Let me tell you just how bad that can be. You may find this difficult to believe. I do, and I was there. You think invaded by North Korea would be bad? Last week my dreams were invaded by Donald Trump!

On the night following the day that Trump flew into Poland, at precisely 4:44 a.m., I began screaming to be taken to Poland to be with Trump. No one paid any attention, except OH, who advised me in sinister tones to shut up — over and over. I was absolutely going out of my mind that no one would take me.

The second night — although Trump had departed the premises — was a repeat of the first. On both nights I did not let up for more than three hours.

On the third night, OH let it be known that if there were any way under the heavens for me to join the president, I would already be gone and not expected back.

If any of you long-suffering readers are psychiatrists, I would appreciate your written diagnosis of what it is that is wrong with my mind.

Just don’t tell me I’m a closet Republican — Canadian edition.

 

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca.