How much better could life be?

Published 10:21 am Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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By Lloyd Albritton


I had a dream a few nights ago.  In my dream I found myself participating in a series of computer examinations for some sort of advancement to an elite government position.  The experience felt similar to my grandson’s reality goggles, which I tried recently.  It was very real.  At the beginning of the series of tests, my government-assigned mentor, who was at my side at all times, encouraged me to believe that I was one of the “elect ones,” a foreordained star in the universe of society’s great ones.  Naturally, I was easily and quickly persuaded that this was true.  I also observed in my dream that I, and a few other prospective great ones like me, were being conditioned for our inherent greatness by the kind of refreshment we were given at each break time.  We great ones were given a Coke on ice as a refreshment beverage, while those destined for moderate or low-level life assignments were given a vanilla ice cream cone.  Needless to say, in my real life, i.e., outside my dreams, I would have done it just the opposite, for I would prefer an ice cream cone a better reward than an iced Coke.  Nevertheless, being a prolific dreamer throughout my life, I know that dreams do not always make sense, so for the time being I just went with the program.

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Then a strange thing happened.  At some point in my examination I began to wane, both physically and intellectually.  My eyesight began to diminish and I could not clearly see the targets I was shooting at in my virtual reality universe.  The computer generated images also began to escape my understanding and I could tell by the askew looks I was getting from my mentor that I was no longer doing as well on the tests as I had started out.  In my dream, I actually felt like I was getting dumber and dumber and weaker and weaker and was no longer capable of performing at an elite level.  Consequently, I was immediately pulled from my elite group and told to go and get in another line as we all filed into the cafeteria for our break and our refreshments.  I felt humiliation when I was handed an ice cream cone for my refreshment instead of an iced Coke.  That was when I woke up, both literally, and with the realization in my dream that I was not foreordained to be anything more than one of the “ordinary ones,” neither in my dream’s great society nor in my real life ordinary society.

I have written about dreams in this column before and I have shared my opinion that dreams are often derived from fragments of conscious thoughts and experiences.  Sigmund Freud actually used dreams to identify and connect real-life issues to dysfunctional behaviors so that the behaviors could be treated.

This particular dream of mine was easy enough was for me to make such a connection because it was only a day or two earlier that I watched a YouTube Podcast by some younger folks who much impressed me by their knowledge, intellect and critical thinking skills.  I remember thinking at the time how I had spent so very many years of my life studying the topics that interested me, yet find myself now in my senior years still feeling woefully ignorant about most things.  Oh, how I wish I could read fast enough to read all the books in all the libraries and book stores in the land in one short lifetime!  Oh, how I wish I possessed the intellect and comprehension to remember all that I have read!  Oh, how I wish that I had the physical capacity to sit for long periods of time to look and listen and absorb the words of knowledge and wisdom that have been posted by so many who are so much smarter and wiser than I am!

When I occasionally see a young genius half my age who has accomplished all the grandiose things I have only dreamed of and wished for, I marvel and swell with pride for them, yet I am also prompted to examine the disparity between us.  Are these young prodigies really so much smarter than I?  Did they work harder than I did?  Did they waste as much time chasing after foolish things as I did?  Perhaps it was a combination of these things that made the difference.  Even so, I cannot express how let down I felt to get that ice cream cone in my dream.  It felt like a “Wake-Up Call” of sorts, a shout for me to “get it together!”  In fact, I think I shall not enjoy my next ice cream cone quite as much as I always have.  It is so ordinary.

The following day as I puttered about in my back yard tending to my new tomato plants and my fig trees and my row of blackberry bushes, I sat down in a lawn chair to rest my tired old body and ponder the beauty of my work.  My faithful border collie flopped down beside my chair to be near me and waited faithfully for me to kick the ball to her again.  I listened to the birds chirping from the cluster of trees surrounding me and appreciated the comfortable early spring sunshine and the ambient sounds of my neighborhood.  I thought about my children and my grandchildren and how fortunate I am to have these choice souls in my progeny.  I thought about how blessed I am to have a loving, faithful wife and a comfortable home to lay my head each night.  I thought about my siblings who were such a great influence in my childhood years and are still here to comfort me through my life.  I thought about all my countless personal friends who I love and enjoy so much.  Indeed, I marveled to myself, “How much better could my life be?”  Perhaps I misinterpreted my dream and am indeed one of the “elect ones.”