December, 2000

So, I thought I was past the Smoking Dream stage, but I guess not. But then, it's ME-- and if I'm going to have one, well then, by God, it's going to be a truly weird one...!

First, do NOT fall asleep on the couch while the SciFi Network is on. At a certain point after regular programming ends, they switch over to infomercials--at least it seems so on my cable lineup. The weird stuff that then creeps into your dreams is way beyond your control...

This dream began with me trying to get an autograph from ex-heavyweight boxing champ, George Foreman. I have no idea why I want this, but I must have his autograph! George asks me to accompany him to his studio, and he'll oblige me.... The studio turns out to be a T.V. studio, and they're filming an infomercial. I politely agree to help him. At some point, George and I become heavily involved in grilling a shitload of hamburgers on his "Lean Mean Grilling Machine" © (I am not a compensated spokesmodel for this product, nor do I play one on T.V.--except in this dream...)

They're really piling up, and old George keeps cranking them out. I'm concerned now, because the burgers are about 6 or 8 deep on top of every horizontal surface in sight. Tables, bookcases, chairs, the top of the big T.V. camera--everywhere. George just keeps grinning and spouting ad slogans: "We're KNOCKING OUT THE FAT!" Great, George! (He's bellowed this inane phrase about 40 times, always accompanied by a roundhouse right hook that I keep having to duck.) This isn't easy, because with the accumulated cubic yardage of cooked (and now cooling) burgers, there isn't a hell of a lot of room left to stand up.

I'm getting really stressed out now, because my job is to find someplace for all these burgers to rest after George finishes demonstrating how much fat and grease rolls out of them courtesy of his little waffle-iron-looking/meat griddle device, and I'm fresh out of ideas, here....this studio isn't THAT large.

I'm cramming burgers in my pockets, like Lucy and Ethel working that candy assembly line. I don't want to piss George off, because hey--he may be retired, but he's still one LARGE sonofabitch with a fist larger than my head. As I shove another hot burger into my pants pocket, I suddenly encounter.... a brand-new, unopened, fresh, tasty-looking pack of cigarettes!

Now this is unusual (really, Jef? So far it seems like just another day for you.) in that I never kept cigarettes in my pants pockets, but always in my shirt breast pocket. I'm ecstatic, because suddenly I have a full pack, and this means I CAN TAKE A SMOKE BREAK! I tell George that I'm taking five to have a smoke, and he just chuckles and waves and grabs another seventeen pounds of ground beef in one of his monstrous paws and begins fashioning more burgers...

I duck around backstage and light up. I am sorry to report that it is SHEER BLISS ; it is maybe the best cigarette I've ever smoked in my life. I NEEDED this so much.... The relief of tension is immediate...and then I'm completely overwhelmed with guilt and shame. I've blown an entire year smoke free just because I can't stack hamburgers fast enough so that some flabby old palooka won't get honked off at me? Fuck this! What was I thinking?!

I grind out the cigarette, run back onstage yelling "CUT! CUT!" and from some hidden reserve I find the sudden balls to demand that George help me out of this predicament. I mean, it was him and his damn grilled hamburger mania that got me into this fix, right?

In that weird way that dreams have of asserting their own logic, we arrived at a solution: George would sell me a few of his "Lean Mean Grilling Machines" © (I repeat: I am not compensated for this; indeed, it is embarrassing to be associated with this product in this fashion...) at COST (nice guy...) and from them we fashioned this very bizarre headgear reminiscent of those stupid beer helmets that yahoo-idiot-jock-drunks wear. Those things with holders for cans of beer and straws that wrap around the head and channel the brew into your mouth...? (Apologies to any potentially offended yahoo-idiot-jock-drunks out there; these things are just white-trash tacky in the extreme...)

Well, George and I cannibalize a couple of these grill things, yanking out the tubes that siphon off the cooked fats and grease from the hamburgers, and we concoct...a Smoking Helmet for me! I mean, the damage is already done, right? I've blown my quit, and what I need to do now is to somehow disguise my horrible shame. This device we slap together has men's cologne in the tubes, and it sort of gurgles and bubbles and circulates all around my head, masking the smell of smoke-- but not very effectively. Oh, yeah-- I'm actively smoking now. The quit is gone, I'm smoking full-time and I have to hide this fact from the entire world as well as my newsgroup pals who might chastise me for slipping.

George's solution to this is to leave one of the grill panels active. I now must balance a hamburger on my head, and cook it while the cologne burbles and gurgles and the wafting burger fumes and smoke from the grill will further disguise the fact that somewhere in the middle of all this junk, I'm actually smoking a cigarette. To round out the security precautions, George volunteers to punch the living crap out of anyone who gets too close or asks too many questions.

Hey; what could be simpler or more effective, I ask you, than a retired boxer who acts as your bodyguard whilst you wear some bizarre, cologne-and-hamburger-filled headgear that allows you to smoke, virtually undetected? Made sense to me! This arrangement works just fine until one of the tubes pops loose, spewing cologne all over the hot grill and bursting into flames...

(Those who recall my last vivid smoking dream may sense a weird theme developing here. I can only conclude that my innate love of good food creeps into whatever I'm matter how surreal the proceedings.)

George is freaked out by the fire and runs screaming from the scene. I am trying to wrestle this flaming wad of junk off of my head and not blind myself... and I wake up alternately howling with laughter and sobbing with relief that I haven't actually smoked!

The cats, glaring at me from the opposite end of the sofa, are not amused. And thus begins another smoke-free morning....

Story Index


Drop me a note with any questions,
comments, criticism, cogent thoughts,
cease-and-desist orders, etc., etc...