Sweet Dreams Are (Not) Made Of This

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Upon awakening from a lifetime of recallable dreams, I’ve frequently mulled over the feasibility of online dream journaling. However, I’ve resisted making my slumbering nightlife an open book, mainly, because I’ve deemed my content, by and large, to be akin to a bedtime story; in other words, a real yawner. Uh, that is, up till this early a.m., when my R.E.M. sleep story seemed a bit more worthwhile and interweb interweave-able.

It all boils down to a specific dreams’ recursive, bothersome nature; of late, the bizarre manner in which my unconscious mind has been prioritizing a particular narrative; has become unduly fond of (unproductively?) sorting out my time served within a peculiar, particular gated community, a.k.a. Retail Hell (initially, as a sales rep; later on, as an entry level manager).

The, perhaps, unsolvable mystery, here, is why there’d even need to be a nocturnal rehashing of this epoch of my life; these dreams ARE playing out nearly 13 years following my injury-forced early retirement. Additionally, I’d hardly categorize more than 5 of those 30 work years as worthwhile and satisfying. Hence, my headline’s negation of the 1983 Annie Lennox / David A. Stewart’s song title, “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This”.

Possibly, it’s my having pissed away nearly forty-five percent of my entire life within that milieu, which would account for this phenomenon? Might there simply not be enough of my other life experiences to draw on? My gawd, it’d be bat crap pathetic, indeed, were my so-called career the only aspect that had ever defined me.

Getting down to the actual dream details, they are, at best, phantasmagorical; the slew of farcical / surreal workplace settings, facial flashes of both wretched and wonderful big bosses and fleeting glimpses of the revolving door co-workers who’d been treated just as shoddily as I. Other mystifying dream elements include my neither showing up for work nor completing my assigned tasks on time, utterly failing to carry out the most mundane of work routines and, in the process, completely mucking up everything; all of which, runs totally counter to the actual facts; corroborated by my rock solid, top-notch, annual job performance reviews.

As for “the why” to my experiencing these (worthless?) dreams, the only working theory I can dream up is how that bygone era of my work life had been a walk in the park; when compared to staggering thru today’s zombie apocalypse.

Such an assessment of tough times, doth summon forth the 1967, James Anthony Dean / Paul Riser / William Henry Witherspoon, R&B/Soul musical masterpiece, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”: these songsmiths’ lead lyric, “As I walk this land with broken dreams” aptly setting the world stage.

Once juxtaposed, such a sentiment is totally relevant to the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated, debilitated and decimated humanity; to a society sickened by the plague of racial inequality, police brutality, gun violence and mass shootings; to the delusional domestic terrorist sleeper cells, who await their collective alarm clock to go off; to trigger the unleashing of their deadly and destructive plots; all of which could, someday, trump Trump’s own, wide awake nightmare; his fortunately failed January 6th attempt to hack America to death.

Indeed, Sweet Dreams Are (Not) Made Of This.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Enter This Road At Your Own Risk!

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Welcome to my / my homeland’s nightmare. And do heed my headline’s warning!

Alas, we’re about to discuss the post Trumpian Epoch; the bare bones existence currently suffered by millions of us commoners, all across the Ununited States of America; a nation gone utterly mad. Granted, I do blog obsessively / excessively on this topic, but, especially considering the January 6th Insurrection, this is not without good reason.

For starters, while President Joe Biden has been doing whatever he can to right Trump’s wrongs, mostly by signing Executive Orders (EO), considering the U.S. Senate’s 50-50 bitter, partisan divide and how multiple state’s xenophobic Governors have been approving recently authored, seething with racism, voter suppression laws, Joe may wield neither the required political clout nor possess sufficient time to take on such a Herculean task; let alone, permanently fix our Donald-diseased, devastated homeland / world.

And even if he does, the bitter truth is that Joe’s EOs can just as easily be undone by any future, radical Republican who manages to mismanage (take out) the Oval Office; maybe as early as 2024; be that Donny, himself, or one of his scramble-brained spawn.

Now, I cannot attest to whether or not what follows illustrates a bona fide nightmare; i.e., seeing how, like most of us, I rarely recall all that transpires during my REM sleep. Nonetheless, here we go…

I find myself cruising along a two lane, rural highway at the posted 90 KPH (55 MPH) limit; one so steep I’m practically heading skyward. Just as I’ve reached the apex of this Wild West mesa, at breakneck speed, an oncoming, painted retina burning red, SUV veers over the center line.

Perhaps, its delirious driver has been driven to this off course, feverish pace by ague? Or, he is some inveterate, nonconformist who, by his very hot headed nature, is hellbent on disobeying all the rules of the road? Perhaps, he’s a hardcore science denier and, as such, actually believes that two objects can occupy the same spot at the same time; sans any damage?

Just when this impending, fatal head-on crash seems carved in stone / tombstone, I spot a side road. Even tho I know not where that dirt and graveled passage will take me, it’s down to do or die. With nothing left to lose, I swerve sharply leftward; barely accommodating the laws of inertia; i.e., narrowly averting vehicular rollover.

Just as I exhale my “whew” and nervous chuckle, I catch a fleeting glimpse of that kamikaze vehicle, reduced to momentary, mere red blur, in my rearview mirror. Another “whew”, for indeed, I’ve totally cheated certain death?

Maybe not! Now materializing out from a dense, billowing dust devil, I spot an impromptu, caravan parking lot; multiple dozens of pick-up trucks, all hued blood red; all veritable roadblocks to all forward motion and notions; to humankind’s journey thru life. This rabble flaunts and taunts; honks horns, hoots and hollers.

Worst of all, these guerrillas, teamed up with big city and small town rogue cops, brandish their assault rifles; aim them all in my direction. What totally innocent moi could’ve possibly done to face down such vigilante justice escapes me; but I am driven to escape and escape I will.

With my untimely demise, once more, imminent, yet another unpaved side road presents itself. Somehow, I manage to reprise my moments earlier, maneuvering miracle only to discover the road, unexpectedly morphing into two mere parallel tire ruts within a tall, tinder dry weed field; the median strip’s knee high foliage noisily scraping at my vehicle’s undercarriage; that clunk of a boulder cannot be good.

My gas tank ruptured, spilling petrol and friction spark flames; one certainty, there can be no turning back.

Momentarily my eyes gaze skyward; perhaps to see the light? The gate to the promised land? I dunno. But, one thing that fleeting glance doth provide is the forewarning of a looming storm front. Angry storm clouds hurl freakish, sky to ground lightning bolts, which set ablaze the drought browned vegetation, ahead.

Fortuitously, albeit a mere car width wide, yet another path presents itself; my last ditch, leftward sharp turn, momentarily, affording me a new lease on life? Or not?

OH NO! OMG! It’s now abundantly clear I’ll be running out of rutted road before I can lead foot my speedometer down to zero. Not unlike the dive of the fictional flick’s Thelma and Louise, I careen over a sky high cliff; plunge into a Grand Canyon magnitude abyss; FALLING, Falling, falling; the gravity.of the situation all but assuring an early meeting with my maker?

The End?

Epilogue: Be the above account based upon an actual nightmare, the composite of untold night terrors (accrued over a lifetime), or merely the musings of this sleep-starved blogger on this new / old pandemic day, it’s all, obviously, reality rooted; the current events unmistakably torn from today’s front page news; e.g., the pitiless pandemic, Democracy demolishing insurrectionists, reckless recalcitrant Trumpers, police brutality, hate crimes, mass murdering incidents, climate change’s freakish weather; uh, need I say more? Sure, why not?

Perhaps REM sleep affords us the best opportunity to make sense of our hometowns, homelands and home world? Of course, it’s not as if anything any of us could muster, solution-wise, would ever be taken seriously, let alone, get implemented.

However, there is one inescapable truth.

First and foremost, everything good we hope for is inexorably linked to humanity emerging from this godforsaken pandemic in full possession of sound mental, physical, fiscal health.

At best, our path ahead will prove a tough road to hoe. At worst, it’ll get roadblocked by horrific people and their horrendous policy; so much so that our forward momentum could easily come down to a brake squealing, tire screeching, crashing halt; perhaps, even drive us over a cliff; i.e., if we let it.

Let’s not let it!

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Taking Inventory Of My Life… Before It’s Too Late (Intro)

While journeying down life’s road most of us take an occasional, over the shoulder glance. However, as of late, my peering into my “rearview mirror” can best be described as excessive and obsessive. Try as I may, it has not been easy to ignore my vivid reveries, dreams and nightmares… as well as the oft accompanying intensely felt emotions.

On the up side… so far… this has not morphed me into a 24/7 basket case. These incidents have only been occurring during my idle daytime hours and nightly REM sleep phases.

On the down side… especially re those abovementioned nightmares… I’m seeing that ominous warning:

“Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear.”

I’ve tried to literally write off these occurrences by typing them into a word document… in hopes that actually seeing the words appear on my computer screen would help put everything into proper perspective? No dice.

I’ve also tried to figuratively write off all of this stuff as something someone merely starts to experience once one’s cake gets set ablaze with sixty plus birthday candles… you know… once one realizes the “road” ahead has far fewer miles than the “road” behind? Again… no dice.

You see… there seems to be… correction… there IS far more happening here than my casually strolling down Memory Lane. I think I’ve been watching my life pass before my eyes. And whether this has involved pleasant experiences or not… I cannot help but wonder if this has been akin to a NDE (Near Death Experience)?

Which begs the follow up question…

Just how, pray tell, does a man (supposedly) “mens sana in corpore sano”… who hasn’t chosen a dangerous occupation… who isn’t a driver headed for an unavoidable head-on collision with an 18 wheeler… ever get to the point where he believes the final sentences within the final chapter of his life’s story are getting written?

Well, the more I think about it, the more I suspect that virtually seeing myself as a chalk-outlined lifeless body can be chalked up to the following two quotations…

“If we have nuclear weapons why can’t we use them?”

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

Those above two sentences (death sentences) were, respectively, uttered and Tweeted by an unwise, unstable, un-American… one who now possesses… correction… one who is now possessed by the nuclear launch codes… namely… the unwisely elected “leader” of the “free” world… an entity I never voted for and have elected to keep nameless in my blogs.

Uh… let’s just refer to that YUGE nobody as #45.

That duly noted… before that nuclear saber rattler ever manages to deadpan, “You’re fired” to our Creator and then promptly incinerate His creation… time permitting… I do have much more to blog about.

In future posts, I’ll be taking an inventory of my life and times… in hopes that, if I’m lucky, someday, somehow, either surviving mutant earthlings or maybe even visiting ETs on an archeological mission, might still find fragments of the WordPress “universe” intact.

Why bother?

Well, primarily, to let everyone know that I have… uh… I guess I should say… I had absolute zero confidence in #45 and the same could be said regarding nearly all of his deplorable and/or delusional appointees and supporters.

I’d want future archeological diggers to know that I was a good man who had absolutely nothing to do with fascist 45’s destruction of Earth’s ecology, economy and society.

Of course, in posting my life’s inventory in the days to come… i.e., #45 permitting… there’ll be a slightly selfish fringe benefit, too. That’s because nothing / nobody ever really dies on the www. That’s because a blogger’s / author’s thoughts can speak from the grave and span millennia.

Indeed, my posts could be my one last shot at a form of immortality.

Don’t Fear The Reaper

Preface

Although this fictional story can stand on it’s own two feet, to set the optimal mood, (time permitting) view the above video prior to reading onward.

Chapter One

Gavin yanks the 9-volt battery from his klaxon-like smoke detector, chuckling a bit while stepping down from his wooden, three-wrung, kitchen ladder. It’d been the lit 60+ candles atop his very own two layer, thickly chocolate frosted, devils-food birthday cake, which had set off that, at times, overly sensitive, perhaps malfunctioning device. His slight smile now crossfades into a deep frown as his sudden realization kicks in… namely… he feels his life is going up in smoke.

True, so far… as far as he knows… only the normal aging process is slowly but surely, unraveling his life. Yet, that’s but a small consolation considering there’s no escaping the inescapable truth… from the moment we’re born, the lifeless gray, grainy sands of time start relentlessly running downward… passing from the upper to lower chambers of the hourglass possessed by the ghoulish Grim Reaper.

Gavin can almost feel the swooshing draft of ice cold death as Mr. Reaper brandishes his scythe and “playfully” threatens to tap the top of his eventual victim’s noggin… can practically hear that ghoul’s unnerving, otherworldly guffaws accompanying his gruffly intoned, menacing, parting words, “Good-bye for now… but… I’ll see you soon!”

Chapter Two

Seven torn off calendar pages later… mere days following All Hallows’ Eve… several hours past dusk on this blustery night… we find Gavin arming his clock radio in order to wake up to music. Switching off the pale glowing lamp, standing tall before the curtain parted, raindrop beaded windowpanes, he beholds the fluttering maple and oak leaves scattering across the ground… hears the soft pine and cedar branches brushing against the window screens… witnesses the occasional breaks in the clouds permitting the sparkling starlight to shine through.

He shivers as he lets the curtains fall back into place. The sound of nine chimes emanate from the downstairs foyer’s grandfather clock. Slipping between the bed sheets, his body heat starts to ease the chill he feels all the way down to his bone marrow. Dozing off, his last conscious thoughts of the day still excessively obsess about his own mortality.

Gavin is heading off into the land of dreams but, considering his troubled state of mind, sweet dreams would be far from an apt description.

So… will this ONLY be a nightmare… or something more?

Chapter Three

Gavin soon winds up at the REM stage… tossing and turning while turning the tables on the horrifying Mr. Reaper. He’s actually relentlessly stalking his enemy. Perhaps recklessly so, he’s also gleefully firing up his alter-ego’s snarky, I refuse to be intimidated, devil-may-care attitude. His primary mission, on behalf of humanity, is to order the Grim Reaper to stand down… or die trying.

Even Gavin’s inside his head pep talk instructs and prods him onward…

What the Hell… why the F not? On the odd chance I might buy each of my fellow humans a few more years, would that not make my dangerous undertaking all the more worthwhile? Hey, at the very least, I might wind up making death far less scary for everyone.

A snap of the twig, which Gavin has just stepped on, almost seems to trigger a flash of lightning and immediate crash of thunder. The near blinding afterimage and high decibel rumbling reverberations have hardly begun to die down when the Grim Reaper stops DEAD in his tracks… crouching a mere ten feet away. Gavin, taking that as his cue, knows it’s now or never. He hails his foe, thusly…

Pssst… hey Reaper! Yeah… I’m talkin’ to you! C’mon over… this’ll only take five minutes, tops. What do I want? Uh… well… since there’s no way to put this delicately, I’ll just blurt it out.

FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL YOU PLEASE BURY THAT GROTESQUE, SPOOKY PERSONA OF YOURS? YOU’RE CREEPING EVERYBODY OUT!

Seriously… an image makeover is long overdue, pal. Think earth tones! Deep-Six that depressing, dreary, black hooded robe and replace it with… oh… say… a hunter green hoodie and a pair of stain and wrinkle resistant, khaki hued, cotton slacks. In your bloody line of work, easy to launder would be a plus and, lest we forget, cotton is “the fabric of our lives™!” Oh… so sorry… I guess that’d be in poor taste since you don’t dig life.

Let’s move on now to that anachronistic hourglass. Seriously, who the hell, in the 21st Century would ever choose to lug around such a bulky low-tech timepiece? Can’t your cell tell you what time it is? Do you mean to tell me you’ve not developed and installed the necessary software on your devices to keep tabs on the timelines of the 7 billion plus Earthly souls?

As for that nasty ol’ scythe of yours… do you really need to brandish such a formidable blade? If you really must resort to intimidation by threatening physical violence, how about studying martial arts? With Karate chops, the bloodshed would be next to none. In time, you might even earn your black belt. After all, basic black IS your favorite color, right? Am I right?

Think about it, Mr. Reaper… you could pass yourself off as a hip, professional, tech savvy, debonair, far less overbearing dude. Look, if you don’t clean up your act soon, U.S. Homeland Security is bound to flag you… move you to the top of their Terrorist Watch list! And once you’re on it… you’re on it for life. Hey, don’t roll your eyes… life isn’t a four letter word… well… OK… on a technically it is… but not in the sense of life being profane.

Let’s now move on to the inner you. Long story short, you’re worrying me sick. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, STAT! You’re nothing but dry, moldering bones; one has to wonder just what in tarnation is holding you together, anyway? Tar? Duct Tape? Superglue™? ‘The cadaverous look is dead, big guy! Even some catwalk models are starting to see the light… are going off their starvation diets! Key here is hydration and nutrition. At the very least, you’ll need to get in your daily eight, eight ounce glasses of H2O and triple your caloric intake.

Hey, ix-nay on those four-letter words, pal, I’m trying to maintain a family friendly nightmare!

Say what? You’re delighted that I’m worried sick? Rather than passing on my know-nothing knowhow I should just see the light and pass on? Screw the earth tones? You’re current image is exactly what you’re going for? You’re completely happy with THAT? OK, have it your way… as if that’s anything new, huh?

And away he goes… muttering obscenities… storming off into a dense billowing bank of dark, dank fog. Geesh, that guy sure has anger management issues! Hey! Did you see that? He just turned to whip me the finger! Look, he flipped me off again!

Well… there go five minutes of my life I can never get back! Of course… considering how PO’d I got him, I may be as good as dead already! Well, looks like I’ll just deep-six any of my future dealings with Mr. Reaper… well, at least until we meet again… in the end… in the end… in the end… in the end…

Epilogue

At daybreak, Gavin’s fitful sleep comes to an abrupt end as his clock radio awakens him to the sounds of a subdued cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s, Don’t Fear The Reaper… performed by the Harp Twins Camille and Kennerly.

As his mind momentarily zones out to the mesmerizing, melodic tones of their angelic harp playing, Gavin cannot help but wonder if he’s just awoken from a nightmarish dream… or was it something more?