Here Thar Be Monsters!
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Slippery Slopes Of Dreams
This one was strange because it involved Lee Harvey Oswald, and because my dad was in it. The latter almost never happens.
At any rate, I was part of a select press tour to view the remains of Oswald, so as to finally put to rest a bunch of conspiracy theories over the years.
We were taken to a place that looked kind of like Arlington National Cemetary. If you've never been there, it's a rather stark monument to sheer number of its own people an Empire is willing to sacrifice. Near the center, there is a building for holding ceremonies and such. We were taken there by an older man who had a sour look on his face and kept trying to debunk all the conspiracies.
Among the group were politicians and newsfolk I've known over my life. Molly Ivins was one who did her usual quipping with perfectly timed, acerbic remarks. Most of them were writers. I don't recall any TeeVee people.
There seemed to be an interminable build-up. I've already forgotten the exact focus of this exercise, but the host kept droning on about how this event would finally put to rest all the theories and speculation that had built up around Oswald. Folks milled around outside the building waiting for showtime. As was typical of the old time, hard-core news writers, everyone was smoking and standing around in groups pontificating on various aspects of the story at hand, each being an expert in some aspect of it.
Oswald looked as if he had died 10 minutes before. He had a strange sort of Napoleon hair-cut with the top brushed forward. He was heavily made up and wearing a 60s-style brown suit. It was more strange for the position he was in. His head was tilted slightly to the right, his legs were drawn up and his arms were splayed out to the sides. As I recall, the box was quite a bit larger than normal. The body plainly looked like Oswald, though.
After the viewing, the folks broke up into small groups and were gathered in various places around the interior and outside. Everyone seemed quite happy with the results...except me. I kept walking around, waiting for an opportune moment, and then asking, "When did they move him to Washington?"
For the most part, I was ignored. The few who acknowledged my question simply dismissed it as an unimportant detail. I kept trying to make the point that Oswald was buried in Dallas, and we were in Virginia, and supposedly our hosts had just disinterred the body for our little junket. No one seemed to care about the minor detail.
At this point, I sat down and lo and behold! There's my dad sitting the row in front of me. When it came to history, Dad always had all the answers. It was one of those things were I hated to ask a question, because I knew what was coming. Every answer was an hour-long lecture on the swirl of events that led up to, and then away from any crux in the flow of history.
What I dreaded was not that he knew incredible details about historical events, it was that none of it was in my text book and wouldn't help answer the question on the test, or at least so it seemed... The other part I dreaded was that every one of those hour-long lectures ended with some kind of Catholic guilt moral. It always came back to the people involved being unrepentant sinners and if they had only gone to communion, the whole world would be right today, blah blah blah.
Usually by that point, I was trying to exeunt stage left to go finish my report.
Anyway, I asked him when Oswald had been moved to Washington. Well, that set off an hour-long lecture about how some guy had bought the final remains out of pity for some strange convoluted reason. It involved a swirl of events and people, each with competing motivations. It was an intricate dance of details, as all my dad's answers were. Fascinating in the weaving...always. I could listen to him for hours (and often did). I just had to make an escape when it became a Catholic morality play, in which I was Everyman watching the sinful foibles of the other characters, hoping to take away some deep, spiritual meaning from all of it.
The dream wrapped up with my dad saying, "Sad, lonely man. Didn't make his final confession." The last scene was the Zapruder film clicking by in frame-by-frame detail, only it was if I was standing there. The images were sharp and clear and didn't shake like the camera.
Then I woke up.
I'm not sure what the point of all this is. Is it my refusal to be satisfied with pat answers? Was it just to remember that little detail about my dad and his long-winded tales of Catholic guilt? Or was it my compulsion to see connections where others don't? Certainly, I was honored to be included in that company of folks. They were all writers that I admire, though I was getting rather annoyed at their refusal to ask the obvious question.
Or maybe the whole point was that I shouldn't eat spicy food before bedtime.
Dreams are odd creatures. They are highly symbolic, which is one reason I enjoy them so much. The act of interpreting and deciphering is a fun treasure hunt. My dreams are often prophetic, in that I am able to see the outcome of highly complex events. Actually, I think the more appropriate word is 'feel' the outcome, because the dreams are rarely explicit.
Some people try to direct their dreams, to take control of them and manipulate events. I prefer to let them unfold in their own way. It's typical of folks to want to control Nature and spoil the the simple message She is sending. Just let it be.
In the end, it was probably just my wife's spicy sapi rendang, hold the rice. Need to tell her to tone down the chili peppers before bed.