7% of My Thoughts on January 30, 2004

1. I had a terrifying dream in which I lost all of my teeth. It should be stated for the record that this was not a nightmare. Nightmares have the consolation of being terrifying in a way that allows one to distinguish between consciousness and unconsciousness. Dreams, by contrast, involve a consummate mindfuck. They masquerade under the illusion that all is well, when in fact they give credence to paranoia and anxiety. Case in point: In this dream, my mouth was a congealed morass of blood, and I was unable to consume anything other than Jamba Juice smoothies. Why my mind fixated on this franchise choice, I cannot say. I’ve deferred my smoothie needs to a not-bad independent Haight Street joint. It is also worth noting that, in the dream, no one around me commented upon my lack of teeth. And this perhaps terrified me the most. Because I had not realized up till now how important my teeth were. I awoke to find my teeth perfectly intact, though I wondered if this dream was an insinuation that I needed to visit a dentist. Women.com, apparently a media outlet of some note, reports that, “Dreams of losing teeth are often dreams of embarrassment or potentially embarrassing situations. The parallel waking experience could be summed up in the phrase ‘losing face’ publicly.” This means nothing to me. I am a man. When I think of a man losing his teeth, I remember Walter Brennan in Red River, who gambled away his teeth and thought that it was nothing more than a slightly embarrassing inconvenience. Ultimately, shame guided Brennan. And shame guided me within the dreamscape. But my anxieties may have had something to do with Point 2.

2. I submitted my application for Wrestling an Alligator to the Fringe Fest today. Alligators, of course, have teeth. I will know on February 11 whether or not my play gets in. The chances, as I understand, are quite random. I tried to come up with a better title, but for whatever reason, Wrestling an Alligator took. I tested this title amongst peers. They seemed to like it.

3. At a restaurant, I ordered an alcoholic beverage known as “007.” The beverage was composed of Bacardi rum, orange juice and 7-Up. I hadn’t tried this concoction before. So I thought I’d give it a shot. It cost six bucks, and yet the drink didn’t include an umbrella. The waitress (or server, if you’re into that PC sort of thing) approached me and asked if “it was strong enough.” The drink, it should be noted, was served in a tall, thin glass, doomed to a predictably orange hue. I implored the waitress to inform me what an orange beverage, let alone an amalgam of orange juice and 7-Up, had to do with James Bond. I told her that Bond liked martinis “shaken not stirred” and that perhaps the 007 association might have been a misnomer. She told me she didn’t know. I asked for the manager, hoping for an explanation. The manager arrived, a short man with a receding hairline and a scowl. He informed me that I had no business asking such questions. I told the manager I wasn’t looking for any trouble, but that I was just curious. What was the 007 drink all about? It should also be noted that the drink had no effect upon me. The rum was diluted, the taste was muted. As a drink, I think we can all agree that it failed. So given the waitress’s query, it seemed to me that the drink was a dud. Really, I told the manager, I was disappointed by the exotic attempt. Why not something vaguely related to Ian Fleming’s creation? “Eat your Pad Thai and get out,” he said. “Is this really a way to draw repeat customers?” I asked. I ordered the drink, only because half the menu was devoted to beverages of this nature. “I don’t care,” he said. And I wondered if the chef had spit in my food. I ate the pad thai anyway, and it’s safe to say that I won’t be revisiting this particular establishment.

4. I met up with a friend and caught Nick Broomfield’s new documentary, Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer. I was considerably impressed. Broomfield offered his standard Robin Leach approach, with a few good gags and his usual slow but sharp everyday observations. But this seemed to me the most revealing film of his ouevre. On one hand, he was willing to dwell on Aileen Wuornos in unapologetic closeup, deferring the scathing power of this film to the serial killer whose intentions were not entirely clear. But he was willing to reveal his hypocrisy. For all of his criticisms of capital punishment and the media coverage, this was a man who misled Wuornos, by proclaiming that he wasn’t taping her conversations when he really was, an attempt to confess that she had committed her murders in self-defense. And yet I could somehow get behind Broomfield and despise Jeb Bush and his wholly unqualified psychiatric tests. The film functioned almost as a response to Capturing the Friedmans, and I was captivated. Friend wasn’t as crazy about the film as I was, but this somehow touched a nerve with me. Are documentaries now about revealing process? If so, how long will this trend last?

5. I sent too many emails today. For those who received them, I apologize. I wanted to atone for last week’s abandonment. The emails ranged from pithy observations to throwaway responses. But all were fun to write. Which begs the question of whether email, as a format, is something that encourages both the best and the worst out of us.

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  1. Ed, sometimes you flummox me with the veritable cornucopia of emails I discover awaiting me in my hapless inbox. Still, you respond to emails all emails sent your way if only to say “Got message. Just want you to know you’re wrong on this. More later.”

    There are some friends of mine that take six month to never to respond to emails I send them.

  2. Ed — re: teeth dreams. That women’s place switched the copy by accident. Teeth dreams are — duh! — about aging. For men this is all tied up worth and success and getting older without having done anything. Good luck at the fringe fest, your subconscious is saying.

    A primer for you:
    Embarrassment dreams are naked in public. Happy-life freedom dreams are flying. House dreams are your subconscious (basement); childhood (downstairs); sex (bedroom); future (attic), roughly. Though obvs attics can also be past. Your basement is where your subconscious hides the bodies so if you are down there it is trying to change. I’m not SAYING you’re down there, I’m just saying for the future.

  3. Double OO7= O for alcOhol, O for OJ, and 7 for 7-UP. Or something like that. Also, don’t abuse waiters and managers: it’s rude and it confuses the busboys.

  4. Hag: I figured it was something like that. But I wasn’t abusing the people. I was just asking a calm question. ‘Dat’s all.

  5. According to Freud, teeth falling out are a sign of financial reverses. Hope it’s a reverse in your favor.

    That’s interesting that there are 2 films out about Wuornos at the same time. I’ve been wanting to see the other one, “Monster”, but it’s playing in “Select Cities” which means never in my town.

  6. And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. A tooth dream could directly correspond to something your body knows is happening with your teeth or related area, and then manifesting that in the form of a dream.

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