Schoolhouse Rock

Dearest Rachel –

Ever since I made this a challenge to myself, to write you something at least once a day, there are days when I find myself wondering what’s going to be new that’s going to be worth telling you about. It is a ‘new normal’ that I am living in, but when you compare one day against another, there’s not necessarily much to say to differentiate them from each other. And so, there are nights when I wonder what I’m going to write next. But then, I get some of the weirdest dreams, like manna from heaven, and I have something to talk about that might amuse you. Such it’s like today.

I don’t know if I ever told you – I’m sure I must have at some point – but once upon a time, mostly in middle and high school, I dreamed (well, daydreamed – there’s a significant difference between the two, and I’ll get to that) of being a rock star. This being the 80s, we’re talking arena rock, when a big enough headliner could fill massive stadiums. That was something I aspire to be, even well knowing full well I didn’t have that kind of talent (or, for that matter, luck – because both are necessary to get one to that pinnacle).

To be honest, I suspect it was a fairly pedestrian daydream. Everybody, no matter how shy they are in real life, has some desire for both fame and fortune, if they are pressed to admit it. And this was the best-known path to that at the time, so it shouldn’t be a surprise it was something I aspired to. At about that same time, Robin Leach was doing his show, and it was not called ‘Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure.’ We all know what those are like – we live them. We all want what the rich and famous have.

It wasn’t until much later, when I actually had a chance to sing on stage, that I realized that, much like power, talent and luck, in sufficient quantities, come with similar responsibilities. Even in such a limited role as singing in church required mingling with the congregation afterwards, and it turned out, that was a bridge too far for me. As much as I like singing, and as much as I like being on stage, the offstage requirements were enough to make me glad to have a more limited and backstage role. I know it kind of sounds like sour grapes, but it’s the truth.

However, I still have the occasional dream, it would seem.

Now, dreams are not the same thing as daydreams. Daydreams are wishes, things you want to have happen to yourself. Dreams, that come to one in the night, lack that level of control, for all but the most lucid of dreams. It’s why so many of them are the type for which waking up comes as a relief. Even excluding the ones where one’s life is threatened to some extent, there’s often a level of fear or embarrassment involved in so many dreams.

And indeed, there was a touch of that in last nights dream. Rather than being the front man that I always daydreamed of being, I was the bass player in the background. And I was reasonably fine with that, as I was fairly confident that I could play the line for any song in our repertoire. However, I was worried that I didn’t know the words to most of the songs we would be doing in our set, and if I muffed them, that could be catastrophic –despite the fact that we were only playing in a high school auditorium.

Now, to justify those fears, the band I was part of was performing at this assembly as a form of entertainment. I don’t remember what songs we were doing – bear in mind, I had already expressed fears and doubts that I wouldn’t know the words when I was in the midst of the story; do you expect me to know them now that I’ve woken up? – but the point was to take some of the more popular tunes of the day, and by altering the lyrics, sing about certain aspects these kids ought to have been learning about in their classes. Think of that Weird Al song about grammar (one of your favorite subjects back in the day) based on Pharrell Williams’ hit ‘Blurred Lines’

All fairly straightforward stuff – although I dare say most of the music being played in my dream was a little rockier than that. It was clearly eighties stuff, if for no other reasons than a.) I felt somewhat at home in a high school auditorium, and b.) we had a guest star for one particular subject, who has long since passed away. Although how (and why) we had him to speak (sing?) to a room full of high schoolers about the subject of safe sex, I’ve no idea. The dude was not exactly known for his set of pipes, unless he would raise his voice and prove he had no need for a microphone.

Now, if this fellow told you to do something, would you say ‘no’ to him?

Of course, you and I remember him more as the gentle Fezzik from The Princess Bride (which, given the fact that he generally played the ‘heel’ in his sporting days, would probably have suited him for a legacy) rather than the world-renowned wrestler he already was at the time. Be that as it may, both the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ would probably have to be chalked up to standard dream logic.

Anyway, the only bit I recall of his portion of the program (and this may be because we continued to play underneath him – what, we weren’t about to play over him, he’s too big for that), was him holding up a condom wrapper between his thumb and forefinger (either of which could have easily obscured it completely, but that’s neither here nor there), and saying in his thick Provençial accent “Girls, if he says he’s ‘too big’ for this,” at which point, he tore it open with those two fingers, brought it to his lips, and, with a single exhalation, blew it up like a balloon to the point where it was as big around as his head, and twice as long. He then held it out in front of him, like his ancestors might have done with the head of a freshly guillotined noble, and added, “you can tell him to…”

And would you believe, the dream popped like a balloon itself right there.

It was a strange moment for my mind to censor itself. Sure, what he was talking about, and the prop he was holding would have been considered a bit too spicy for my high school when I was attending (and therefore, when this was probably set), but things had gotten this far – why cut it off now? Besides, the thing a girl should tell such a guy to do at that point with himself (despite the fact that you and I would agree that a situation should never have gotten anywhere near this point, but we can’t control what other people’s kids might choose to do), while decidedly vulgar, would probably be nowhere else so apt.

But those are dreams for you, I suppose, and I figure it might amuse you how it all got put together in my mind, even as I lay unconsciously processing all this. Of course, I’ve no idea what, if anything, any of it might mean…

So, if you can’t help me sort this out, honey, at least keep an eye out for me today, and wish me luck; I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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