For the great majority of us, a ringing telephone at 3 a.m. usually presages one of three things:
- Your ex-wife needs bail money.
- A neighbor is calling to tell you that your garage seems to be on fire.
- The coroner is phoning to tell you that cousin Earl apparently has gathered the wrong kind of wild mushrooms for the last time.
For me, though, a telephone call between midnight and 4 a.m. simply means that my old ’60s sidekick, Sapper, has fallen victim to another of his periodic brainstorms.
Since most of the unreconstructed old hippie’s other friends have wisely had their telephone numbers changed over the past three decades, I’m usually the one who gets the benefit of Sapper’s latest revelations.
Forever lost in the Age of Aquarius after ingesting some unidentifiable herbs near Bolinas in 1968, Sapper is a never-ending source of pre-dawn ideas that could revolutionize all our lives if only we would listen.
Sometimes Sapper even tries to revolutionize himself, the repercussions of which are usually felt for years.
On a bleary Saturday morning last month, Sapper called shortly before dawn with his latest scheme to improve the world in general and to increase his income in particular.
“Wake up and smell the cosmos, bro – you’re talkin’ to Oregon’s soon-to-be pre-eminent interpreter of dreams,” Sapper announced. “And unlike some of those other celebrity-baiting charlatans who just tell people what their brains have been up to while they’ve been crashed, I’ll be tellin’ them how to use their dreams to maximize their potential.”
“Really, bro, people will be throwin’ me fat wads o’ cash when they see how my dream guidance counseling will change their lives. Everybody wins!” Sapper announced gleefully over my periodic sputtering.
“Face it, I’m an unrecognized expert on the subject. I’ve been havin’ dreams ever since I was a kid – some of them when I was awake. Once in an elevator. I know of what I speak.”
Like I said: Uh-huh…
“Really. Take a dream. Any dream. How about that dream just about all of us have where you’re like running away from something but you can’t seem to get anywhere? Piece of cake. It all goes back to elementary school when the big goon who was three years older than you used to chase you around the playground and punch you in the head jus’ because you were there. Or, in a few rare cases, you might have been a receiver for the Seattle Seahawks. In either case, bro, you just gotta go out, walk up to the biggest goon – or Rams’ tackle – you can find and smack him one upside the head. End of dream,” Sapper concluded.
“Or maybe you have one of those ‘falling’ dreams where you’re always, like, falling an’ stuff. That actually means that you’re afraid of turning into an ostrich, which falls a lot when it tries to fly because it’s, like, flightless. You want to beat that fear, you just gotta go out and leap from curb to sidewalk to park bench, all the time saying in a loud, confident voice ‘I am not an ostrich. Behold – I jump, I leap, I pirouette. I do not fall. I triumph!’ People will pay big bucks to get that kind of advice,” Sapper added.
And how much, I wondered, will people pay not to get that kind of advice?
Only time will tell…
Originally published February 20, 2005