This week’s inductee into the “Overrated Hall of Fame” is … your dreams.
There are certain sentences a person never wants to hear, a sampling of which is below:
“That wasn’t powdered sugar. It was anthrax.”
“I thought we could watch seasons one through three of According to Jim tonight.”
“Ben Stiller made another movie!”
(To a man) “Is it in yet?”
(To a woman) “Is it in yet?”
We can also add, “I had this really cool dream last night” to the list, because that dreaded sentence is invariably followed by the scintillating recounting of said dream by the human blob of boredom that is talking to you. Dreams, while no doubt fascinating to the dreamer, are never interesting to the poor sap who has been suckered into listening to the excruciating play-by-play retelling of the dream. If listening to someone describe a great movie is tedious, having to endure a blow-by-blow account of someone’s stupid dream is downright brutal.
If you are one of those people who feel the need to regale friends or even mere acquaintances with a detailed version of your every dream, here are a few tips you might want to internalize before you repel every person you know with your dream recaps.
(Please note that I am not talking about your life’s dreams. If your life’s dream is to someday open your own Bed and Breakfast, or to travel the country for three months in a tricked out van, or to own season tickets to New York Knicks games, well, by all means … keep that shit to yourself, too. Those aren’t dreams. They’re fantasies. We both know your lazy ass will never do any of it, so stop wasting both our times.) On to the tips …
Sorry, but no matter how descriptive you are, we can’t visualize the surreal details of the Salvador Dali-esque dream you dreamt last night. Stop trying to describe your crazy dream. We’re just not interested enough to put in the effort. So the five-legged cow was this color or that color, and the doctor had this really gross rash on his skin and the hotel was just a big, endless tower with live human gargoyles. If we want nonsensical imagery that bores us to tears of blood, we’ll read a Harry Potter book.
Even if I was a player in the dream, I’m not interested in hearing about it because it was, you know, a fucking dream. Was I really at your house playing the trumpet? So what. You mean I was eating crackers with sardines and wearing checkered socks? That would be boring in real life, let alone your boring-assed sleep fantasy. I was banging whom? Well, when I woke up today, my morning wood was dry and unsucked, so I guess I didn’t get laid after all.
Yes, I know, I know. That person we both know was doing something completely out of character in your dream, and it’s sidesplittingly hilarious. So our boss was in a hula skirt singing karaoke. Or our aunt was directing traffic outside of church. Perhaps the neighbor lady was milking a goat. These things would be at best mildly interesting if they actually happened. The fact that they transpired inside your unoriginal mind while you were asleep makes them even less interesting to us. I’ll be nice and laugh and gasp and say, “No way!” But I’m faking it.
No matter how crazy things get in dreamland, you just can’t make a dream interesting to the people who didn’t dream it. In fact, the more unreal the events of the dream, the faster we stop listening. Fantasy works for some people (not me) in movies and in well-written books. Your clumsy retelling of last night’s fantasia sounds like an unreadable attempt at fiction by a third grader. Believe me, your fantastical unworldly dreams are not unique. We all have them. Most of us just have more refined internal filters that prevent us from sharing every thought that passes through our brains, especially the ones that show up while we’re sleeping.
Having to listen to every damn detail of your dream was draining enough. Your amateur interpretation of the dream’s meaning is sapping my already withering will to live. The world’s best sleep scientists still don’t have a firm grasp of what dreams are all about, so your layman’s interpretation of last night’s (no doubt wacky) dream is certainly wrong and probably quite stupid. Not every woman in every dream is your mother. A guardian dream fairy isn’t warning you to stay home from work that day or to take a different route to the mall that night so as to avoid tragedy. Yes, your subconscious is telling you something, but you don’t know what it is. You’re not even perceptive enough to gauge boredom in your listener, so you sure as hell don’t have the mental muscle to play Freud and analyze your dreams. Let it go.
Finally, your sex dreams really don’t interest us. Please spare us the gore of picturing your naked, doughy body writhing and sweating with that chick from work who wouldn’t fuck you in real life even if she were a death-row inmate and you were walking through C-block with a fistful of pardons. It’s gross. We know that, just as with your real-life sex stories, you are either embellishing or flat out making shit up. Dream lies are pretty easy to spot. If it ends with you giving Maria from sales a screaming orgasm, we know it wasn’t a real dream. It was your latest pathetic spank fantasy.
I thought of this topic last night when I awoke from a bizarre nightmare. Let me tell you about it. I was vacationing in Russia with my wife and our friend Scott. We got to the hotel and found out that my license was missing, so I ….
Hey, where did everyone go?
Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.