By RICH FOLEY
I have to laugh every time I see a commercial for Chantix, a prescription medicine for those trying to stop smoking. The commercial announcer used to say that side effects may include “vivid, unusual or strange dreams.” That warning must have scared off potential customers as he now cautions against unusual dreams only. Heck, I can have mystifying, unbelievable dreams without taking any drugs, prescription or not. I only need to fall asleep.
For whatever reason, I seem to have a wide range of celebrities making appearances in my dreams, regardless of whether or not their presence makes any sense. Take, for instance, a recent one in which I have become a rock singer.
In this fantasy, I’m in a recording studio with the Animals, a group I’m sure any of you who remember the 1960s will recall. I seem to have taken the place of lead singer Eric Burdon, something that could only happen in a dream. We’re trying to record the song “When I Was Young” (still with me, 1960s experts?). To add some additional strangeness, there is a baby in the recording studio. He’s a cute little boy, but his crying keeps interrupting take after take and no one seems to know who he belongs to.
Hold on, it gets weirder. One of the Animals is legendary NASCAR driver David Pearson. If there’s any reason a stock car driver from South Carolina would be performing with an English rock group, I’m not sure what it would be. And Pearson is just as confused by the crying baby as I am. What’s more, he never mentions whether he realizes I’m not Eric Burdon.
In another dream, I’m merely a record producer. A group of famous musicians including Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Emmylou Harris have gathered to record a tribute album to the late Warren Zevon. It’s been done once before, but with a wide selection of Zevon songs and friends wanting to participate, a second album was a natural.
My contribution of the new album’s title led to me getting the producer’s seat. I thought “Warren Zevon: Deader Than Ever” would be a great tribute album title, given the dark humor that permeated Warren’s writing and recording output and the fact that he has been gone eight years now. The approval of Warren’s son and daughter got me the job. Unfortunately, I woke up before I found out if I was any good at it.
Not every dream has a music industry connection. In one, I was visiting Chicago and ran into actor Randy Quaid. Since he’s supposed to be in exile in Canada hiding from “star whackers” he thinks are out to kill him, I was pretty surprised to see him. Granted, he was wearing an eye patch and blond afro wig, but there was no doubt it was him. He tried to deny it, but, as much as I like his work in real life, in my dream, he just wasn’t that good of an actor.
Two dreams found me in familiar surroundings with unusual companions. In the first, I was visiting Palmyra with, of all people, Courteney Cox. And what’s even better, in this dream, she’s my girlfriend. Had I got to choose, I might have preferred Mariah Carey, but I don’t have any control over what happens in Dreamland. I’m not sure why Courteney and I are in Palmyra, but I run into several people I know and introduce her as my fiancée. Apparently, I’ve done away with David Arquette and I don’t seem to be concerned about it.
In the second dream, I’m a customer at the Rite Aid pharmacy in Wauseon. It was a pretty boring dream until I ran into Tom Selleck. He’s pushing a shopping cart overflowing with...take a guess...no, paper towels! Dozens of rolls of them. Obviously, I have to ask him why he is in Wauseon and why does he need all those paper towels? And Tom Selleck, who always seemed to be so nice on television, told me to “Mind your own business, pal.” Gee, thanks, Magnum!
Then there are the dreams that are not full of celebrities. There was one in which I was competing in the Olympic Games. I never found out what city I was in, but just the fact that I made any Olympic team seems pretty odd. At least until I ended up winning the gold medal in the 1,500 meter run. That was vivid, unusual and strange, all at once. And to the regret of the pharmaceutical industry, no Chantix was needed.