Bear with me. I’m going to share details of a dream I had last night. If that sounds dreadful to you, then it probably will be. I hate when people insist on sharing their variety hour dreams, filled with insubstantial fluff and lame endings. But know this: I forced myself to remain awake for twenty minutes immediately after this dream woke me up. At 4 am I already knew that I wanted to remember this dream in its every detail. I couldn’t get back to sleep after all, so that (and the fact I’m writing about it) should be proof enough that this dream fascinated and creeped me out in equal measure.
If you’re still with me and unsure whether you want to hear this dream, then sorry. I have another quick digression. I had a professor in college who spends some time researching treatments of the apocalypse in film and literature. She discussed how many people have end-of-the-world fantasies in which they become the hero, the possessor of some unique capacity for zombie slaying or the genius with enough brains to come up with a fail-safe solution to the whole mess. These are all skills that don’t have a chance to surface in our regular, humdrum lives, so only a worldwide disaster can logically bring them about. Obviously. Let’s face it, many of us have our moments where we feel that life and success would be easier–practically assured to us–if 95% of the human race evaporated in an alien invasion’s laser blasts. I don’t particularly have a pet fantasy for the apocalypse, but this dream has told me that perhaps I need one. I’ll leave it up to you whether I’m the hero of my own apocalypse. Spoiler: I’m not. No way.
The dream starts in movie form, meaning that I am not in the action. I see a grubby van kicking up dust as it travels across the screen of my vision. The landscape appears to be our time and the recession has hit this neighborhood heavily. Inside this makeshift taxi, which is being driven by a Jim Carrey lookalike, are a grey and pudgy collection of people. It is the end of a long day and the atmosphere in the car is drowsy as they are conveyed to their abodes, a fact not alleviated by the oldest member of the crew, a man with neatly brushed white hair, telling the other middle-aged passengers how his family has helped him pretty up his home. His jolly Santa-esque eyes are practically glowing as he enumerates the small improvements that have been made to the home’s exterior.
This starts to annoy Jim. He grumbles quietly in his corner and manages to put all his irritation into his knuckles, which turn a livid white on the steering wheel. The old man just keeps adding to his lush descriptions, the rest of the passengers hardly giving him any attention. At last the old man points forward, his finger pressing up against the windshield, at a building on the roadside ahead, exclaiming, “Here’s my stop!”
The building appears to be an old two-story barn painted in a glaring white. The wood sidings are all unfinished and splintery-looking. There are large gaps between the wall and the roof in several places, all clearly visible under the sagging eaves.
With the cheery exuberance of a 3rd grader getting home from school, the old man scuttles out of the van and jogs to his front door, which seems to be warped and rotten at the corners. Jim lets out a phlegmy snort, which he clearly hopes will act as rallying call for the rest of the van to voice their derision. But they don’t. They all appear indifferent to the Grand Canyon residing between the old man’s descriptions and the home’s reality.
Now here’s one of those jump cuts of dream logic. Jim has, through stirring words and no doubt much declamatory chest beating, managed to scare the rest of the vehicle into submission. He is shouting that it’s a travesty for the old man to boast, especially to a van full of people who have homes almost as bad as this ramshackle barn. “It is false pride and it should be punished!” Jim Carrey slowly intones. There is a calm and calculating rationale in his eyes. He barks for everyone to get out of the van and sharpish.
As the silent and dough-eyed group obeys, Jim takes out a gallon of gasoline from underneath his seat and starts to make a puddle around the old man’s front door. There are some protests from the group, but Jim shrugs them off. Not having any matches, Jim’s mind is set on the ignition key. Assured in his dream logic that he can start a flame in no time by overheating the engine–and all without doing damage to the van, he’s sure–so he reaches for the key. But oh no! One of the rascally middle-aged women has absconded with the key for who knows where. No matter. The ever resourceful Jim Carrey starts to hotwire the car with the van’s snapped-off antenna.
Hearing a thrum of life in the car, Jim backs off with the rest of the sheepish passengers to an adjacent tennis court. Two things are running through his head now: 1) without the key I don’t need the van, and 2) the van is surely close enough to the gas puddle that combustion alone will set off a chain reaction.
And boy howdy, dream logic doesn’t hesitate. The old man hardly steps out into the puddle in terrycloth slippers, an angry “Get off my lawn!” fist shaking in the air, before the van’s combustion (a good 10 yards from the puddle) creates a seismic crater in the earth beneath his beloved barn. But the crater expands like yeast (or a yeast infection) until Jim and crew are swallowed in its wake. Bye bye lengthy backstory.
So, I now enter the scene running from a yawning crater. The ground keeps giving out beneath my heels. I decide to give up and tumble down into the abyss, but just as I stop running the crater ceases to expand, albeit a little too late. I have to climb out of a 3 foot ditch, after all. Looking around me, I see chaos and destruction everywhere. In another one of those wonderful jump cut sequences, I find myself in California. Maybe I ran all the way there? Dunno.
At any rate, I sense that anyone who has read this far with me is expecting an ending with all the proper climaxing bells and whistles. Well, patient reader, know this: I literally stood in front of the San Francisco house front from Full House. And, seeing as it was the only house on the street that had lights on inside, I tapped at the door seeking shelter from the poisonous cloud of atmosphere coating the world. And Bob Saget let me in.
Now, I was a fan of Full House when I was young in the brain–I was willing to accept unconvincing plot resolutions, gooey morals told over shimmering strings, and the odd conclusion that the Olsen twins were more adorable than your average toddlers. At any rate, going into the house I found that it was fully equipped to send out television transmissions worldwide. This was how I learned three horrifying details: 1) the craters had enveloped everything but the edges of North America and Canada, 2) every Asian country had been cratered and subsequently those craters had filled with ocean water, and 3) Full House was now the world’s only source of media entertainment. In order to cheer up the lives of the rest of the world (sorry, the dream gave me no specifics on what happened to other continents), Bob Saget had gathered together the rest of the cast for endless reunion after reunion specials. The house was very full indeed now that I joined them as a prop assistant, camera man, and occasional one-line comic relief. I soon fit in with the cavalcade of corny catchphrases. We broadcast our messages of family fun and understanding 24 hours a day, often without assurance of ratings. We just enacted parts for our own amusement, and I soon learned that I too could hide my desperate thoughts behind a clean grin like Bob Saget. The man was and is, after all, a very dirty-mouthed comedian.
And I wish I could say that this was Full House After Dark, and that the world’s only remaining sign of civilization and culture had some smut and sauce to it, but no. We all kept our mouths shut and managed to fix the laugh track. And then I woke up.
PS – To show that I have no hard feelings against Jim Carrey, here’s a video of him singing along to Bob Dylan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxcy3v1rAUs