Thursday, May 29, 2008

Two posts in two days? What’s the occasion? I’ll tell you what. I had a dream last night that was so spectacular I need to share it. It's just like when I had pneumonia. I feel like I should share it with everyone. I’ve had a few strange dreams before. In one of the more memorable ones I woke up with a twenty-four inch penis. It seemed great, but then I discovered it had the girth of my pinky finger and a 135 degree bend in it. For most of the dream I just stood in my room and stared at that disgusting spaghetti-like monster in shock and disappointment.

Last night’s dream was even odder than that and didn’t involve my penis. What it did involve were a President from the 1860s, crayons from the 1900s, and a band from the 1970s.

It started with me standing on stage playing guitar in a band. We were in some sort of huge arena with thousands of screaming fans. I was confused because A) I don’t have thousands of fans and the ones I do aren’t of the screaming sort, and B) I didn’t recognize any of the people I was playing music with. I was especially confused when I looked at the banner behind us and discovered that the band I was playing for was Iron Maiden. I have to wonder why my mind put me in that band, because I’m not a huge fan and haven’t heard their music since I last played Tony Hawk 4 a few months ago. But anyway, it got more confusing when I saw all the band members were dressed in the same red blazers and checkered-yellow pants. We looked nothing like Iron Maiden. I was wearing someone else’s glasses and couldn’t see very well. It was perhaps the most confusing situation I’ve ever experienced besides the time when my parents revealed that Pancho, the Panamanian boy who I thought was my brother, was actually an undercover DEA agent and was forty-six, not eight. And that’s before the wind monster showed up.

In the middle of all the confusion there was some commotion on stage and everyone ran outside. At some point during my escape I noticed that we were all fleeing from a wind monster, like that face that came out of the sand in The Mummy. I don’t know how quickly the thousands of people in the arena could have funneled through the doors, but suddenly I was outside where everyone was standing around. No one was panicking anymore. I guess we all figured the wind monster wasn’t smart enough to follow us out. How wrong we were, because suddenly I felt a breeze on my back. It was the wind monster making his second attack! Everyone grabbed a handful of sand off the ground and threw it in the air so we could see what the monster looked like. That’s when things got really weird.

The sand settled on the smoke monster and it solidified into a shape. It was a large house, which my mind immediately recognized as the United Stated Capital Building from Abe Lincoln’s presidency. It looked like a large plantation-style house, but maybe that’s what the Capital Building looked like in 1862. When it comes to historical facts I like to trust my dreams over books. Everyone was furious at the smoke monster so we all ran to the building and broke all the windows. I’m now realizing that the smoke monster didn’t actually harm anyone. I guess people just love ganging up on smoke monsters and breaking their windows.

We all climbed inside the building and it was more like Abe Lincoln’s house than the Capital Building. There was a very old bedroom and everyone immediately started raiding the drawers. I found a box of Crayola crayons. Each crayon was about a foot long and looked like a candle. I guess that’s how they made them during the Civil War. A dresser was full of Garfield merchandise. Not the president, but the cat. There were little figurines of Garfield. Maybe Abe was a fan. I noticed a friend of mine was there rummaging through Lincoln’s stuff right beside me. I joked to him, and I remember these specific words, “I bet Abe’s going to walk in here and shoot me in the heart.” Why the heart? I don’t know. I envisioned Abe Lincoln as a pistol-carrying gunslinger who aims to kill. From my knowledge of American history, though, he was not.

We all left the house and it was over. Nothing was really concluded. Maybe that wind monster/Capital Building is still out there haunting Iron Maiden concerts. But then the dream morphed and I was in a store, where apparently I worked along with that same friend who was in Lincoln’s house with me. We were standing around when a very old man walked in. Note that the man looked absolutely nothing like Teddy Roosevelt. He was a skinny old man wearing an apron from Lowe’s. But my mind told me that he was, in fact, Teddy Roosevelt. My friend and I followed him around the store, laughing at the idea that Teddy Roosevelt works at Lowe’s.

And that’s the dream I had. Pretty strange.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Another school year is over. The books have been turned back in, the chairs have been stacked, and the calculators have been put to rest. The pencils have been retired to kitchen drawers and my drawers have been retired for the season. The summer is much more enjoyable without undergarments holding me back. The ability to wear nothing at all or as much clothing as physically possible is just some of the joys of summer.

But there are also horrible parts of summer. For example, family gatherings. This year’s Memorial Day gathering wasn’t out of the ordinary. There was swimming. There were hamburgers. And there was a deranged Pakistani man who tried to convince everyone to buy his Swimming Hamburgers, literally hamburgers that can swim. No one bit on his offer. My aunt almost did but she declined upon hearing that the hamburgers can do only the butterfly and not the backstroke.

During this gathering I was asked a question that seems simple but is in fact virtually impossible to answer. My grandma said, “So what do you plan to do this summer?”

My answer sounded fine to me. “Relax and enjoy summer.” That seems to sum everything up. She seemed to have expected more.

“Oh,” she said. Just kind of an “oh” that acknowledges that I have responded; the kind that means, “You have not impressed me. Perhaps the value of your Christmas gift will reflect my disappointment.” But honestly what could someone asking that question possibly expect to hear?

“In June I plan to scale Everest, throughout July I’ll construct a particle accelerator in my garage, and during the first few weeks of August I’ll catch Osama bin Laden.”

Maybe I should have just turned the question around. “What did you do during your summer vacations? Go to Washington to meet President Taft?”

I suppose I could have shared with her some more specific plans. I could have told her about the potato launcher I constructed yesterday. Here’s the problem with that, though. To anyone under the age of thirty the idea of a spray-deodorant-propelled potato cannon is pretty spectacular. But to people of an older generation, such a device would give them so many questions they very well could develop Alzheimer’s on the spot. “How far do they go?” “Why are you launching potatoes?” “Are you working for the Germans?”

Nothing good could have come from telling her about specific events or plans like the potato launcher. I would have been answering questions until school starts again. Having the time to make such plans and build such vegetable-firing cannons is perhaps the greatest part of summer. There are no longer any time constraints. Just one week ago I had a scant ten minutes built into the morning routine to relieve my bowels. But what if there was a great article in Entertainment Weekly that required fifteen? Then I’d have to save it for later. What if my bowels were full to the brim and required fifteen minutes of birth-like pushing? I would also have to save that for later. Now I can spend as much time as needed, or wanted, on the bowl. But having no time limits is a pleasure that extends outside of the bathroom.

I can read the newspaper without having to stop to do schoolwork. I can watch TV without having to pause to study. I can rob the local gas station at my leisure without having to be in bed early to wake up. Earlier today I spent a good twenty minutes eating an apple. Just sitting in silence, enjoying that apple, and thanking Johnny Appleseed for his work. During the school year there’s no time for such enjoyment.

And there’s also not enough time for things like trying to throw a baseball faster than the speed of light. Or trying to eat a whole can of green beans including the can. Or growing a third penis.

I probably won’t end up attempting any of those things. I’ll split most of my time between the newspaper and the waffle ball field. But knowing that I have the freedom to, at any moment, decide to eat all the leaves in my yard is a comforting feeling.

This summer is going to be a good one. Maybe I’ll run into you when I’m breaking the sound barrier on foot.

News Update!: I made a new blog for fictional things. Why? Because fiction doesn't have to be real. I can literally just make anything up and put it on there and no one says it's fake. I wonder why no one thought of this before.