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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Dream is Over

When a 10 year-old arrives at the breakfast table unable to eat bacon, one of the essential four food groups - the other three being butter, chocolate and spirits - it might be time to quit talking politics. Election years, with constant campaign commercials, poll reports, automated phone intrusions, and solicitations for funds take a toll on us all. The pandering and propaganda exhaust otherwise hardy Americans and beat weaker ones into postures of submission and ignorance. Why should we not expect politics to also affect the innocent bystanders, the children?

And if someone refuses bacon, it's a clear sign that she's in need of an intervention. So I put her through the rigors of intense questioning, beginning with, "If you aren't going to eat your bacon, can I have it?"

But what she told me next was chilling indeed. She had a dream last night. She dreamed the government seized our house and took all of our food. Not bad guys, not the bogey man, not the characters in most kids' worst nightmares, but our government.

Because the government took our house and our food, we all grew very, very hungry, prompting her resourceful father to declare, "We're eating the cat." Despite the child's protestations, impotent as they always are in nightmares, we did. That meal did not satiate us, though; I suppose the cat didn't amount to much meat shared among six people.

In the dream her father's anxiety over our plight escalated to unimaginable proportions. In desperation and fear of starvation, he announced that we had to eat our dog. Naturally, this distressed the child and stimulated thrashing and screaming and vociferous dissent.

We ate the dog anyway; everyone except the dreamer herself who elected to go hungry in opposition.

"It's okay," I comforted her, between bites of her bacon. "The dream is over." Saying the words, however, sent apprehensive tingles down my spine.


shelly said...

I understand how she feels. Sometimes we finish the evening with news. Wrong thing to do, of course. Because then I can't fall asleep with all the bantering in my head over the news.

William Kendall said...

I much rather prefer to end the evening with the fake news, such as the Daily Show and Colbert, because at least that puts a funny spin on the news....