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Column: Perchance to dream, darkly

Posted: January 29, 2018 4:03 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2018 1:00 a.m.

The other night, I had a seriously weird dream. I don’t know if it was from drinking too much cough syrup or if it was a combination of cough syrup, Hunter S. Thompson and Kung Pao Chicken, but whatever it was, it was a real corker. I’m still wondering if I need a week in the Bahamas, or something.

Anyway, it seems a great big tornado had come along and jumped right out of the TV set, ripped right down my street and knocked my house right on top of my head. I woke up in a land far, far away in a place where everything was painted this obnoxious emerald green. On the plus side, politically correct speech and other similar forms of thought control are not only frowned upon, they are serious felonies.

It was pretty weird, sort of like what I would imagine an out-of-body experience to be like. I watched as this guy who looked sort of like me sat down and wrote a column for the local paper. I don’t know if their local paper was called Beak Oz, The Knew Yawk Thymes or the Washtub Post, but apparently it had a pretty good circulation. 

The guy writing his column wrote it under the byline, “By That Guy.” That Guy certainly had quite a bit to say -- it read something like this:

“OK, so it’s time to get a few things off my chest. If you find yourself offended by what I have to say, then chances are, there’s a good reason for it. That’s because chances are, I’m talking about you -- and you know it.

First, here’s a little friendly advice to anyone who wants to call and complain about what I have to say: don’t bother.  I know what I’m talking about; you don’t. Don’t waste my time or your breath. You’re an idiot and I realize you can’t help that, but you can do the world a great philanthropical service by shutting your cake hole. Therefore, take this opportunity to render that service. Once you see how good philanthropy actually feels, you can continue to practice it. That is all; you are dismissed.”

About this time, a little man I assumed to be the wizard came out from behind his curtain and said, “Dang, kid. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Really…”

And I watched, in horrified fascination, as That Guy wrote more.

“Now, to all you wannabe politicians and wee-wee measuring bloviates, I want you to pull your collective heads out of your colons and I want you to do it now! That means leaving the ignorant partisan posturing at home. It’s not about you, nor is it about the five morons sitting behind you pulling your strings. Lay off the slogans, grow a pair, and do what needs to be done!”

At any moment, I expected the heebie jeebies, a group of placard waving vegetables that appeared in another weird dream of mine awhile back, to come marching across the foot of my bed. Thankfully, they didn’t, but unfortunately, That Guy wasn’t quite done yet.

“Oh, yeah, all you letter writers, bloggers, incontinent social media trolls, armchair policy wonks, jailhouse lawyers, email evangelists and other such cranks of all stripes. Do us all a favor and try to have some idea of what you’re talking about before you start honking these nonsensical bits of verbal sewage. Or do you really want to advertise to the entire world that you are, in fact, an unhinged ignoramus?”

Then, That Guy started to get a little bit irritable. I caught bits and pieces like this: “… as for you religious nuts, fulminating atheists, far right hysterics, far left poltroons, zealots of all ilks, tree huggers, developers, philanthropists, intellectuals, telemarketers, high speed truckers, creeping left lane geriatrics, safe space providers, flat earth advocates … and … and …”

And then I woke up. 

I rarely meet -- or even conjure -- anyone I immediately and so intensely dislike. But That Guy sure is one of them. And the reason I so intensely dislike him is because he is me, at least the worst part of me, the part I hate, the demon I try to exorcise every day. In fact, That Guy is all of us. He’s the egocentric, petulant 2-year-old, who, having graduated from triangular pants and incomprehensible temper tantrums, is now capable of expressing himself with limited coherence backed by an extremely simplified, sophomoric worldview.

That Guy is everywhere. 

We all need to send That Guy back to Oz where he belongs.


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