I had a dream…
I could remember
I had a dream. It was not the noble kind like that of the great Martin Luther King, but it was a dream, and I had it. When I woke, I retraced the steps in my dream because, unlike most of my dreams, I recalled this one in vivid detail. As I retold myself the story my dream told me, I wondered, “Where is my Daniel?”
You remember Daniel, right? Daniel, the Old Testament prophet, statesman, and interpreter of dreams. Daniel, the one who told the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom would fall and be divided four ways. Daniel, the one in the lion’s den. That Daniel. I wish I could tell him my dream so he could tell me what it means.
I sent my pastor friend Clark Bosher (we have been friends since we were both teenage preachers with big dreams) the following text this afternoon:
“I had a dream. You and Mel Gibson were both in it…and there was an old adjuster friend named Jimmy Taylor there, too.”
Then, I added, “I gotta lay off the ‘shrooms.”
He replied, “LOL!”
And that was fun but no help. Clark is not my Daniel. He is my friend, though.
[For the record, I have never done mushrooms unless they are the kind you batter and fry or smother in brown gravy and ladle over a nice hamburger steak.]
I can’t forget
Here it is, my dream…
It must have been a Sunday morning. My wife and I were in this vast sanctuary, or auditorium, if you please. It must have seated 1,000 worshipers. But we were not seated in one of the pews. Instead, we were sort of camped out down front, in front of the platform and very near the podium, behind which Mel Gibson was readying himself to deliver the morning sermon. We were sitting cross-legged on the floor like it was Woodstock or a pow-wow. Gibson was talking with Donya (my wife) and me as if he knew us – as if we were old friends because, who knows, maybe we were. He was also fussing with a lapel mic and doing a sound check.
Seated to Gibson’s left, behind a table with folding legs, the kind you set up for special events, was a woman with a GoPro on a little tabletop tripod, an open laptop, and a mixing board. She was helping Mel with the sound check.
“She’s my publicist,” Mel Gibson said to me. “She’s a pain in the ass, but she has made me a ton of money.” (This is not your usual pulpit language but it was Mel’s.)
I smiled at the woman. She did not smile back. She seemed dour to me…like she would be a hard nut to crack.
“Mel,” I said, “I wish you could introduce me to your publicist. I sure need some help with my book.”
Gibson said, “Sure. I don’t mind. Just keep my name out of it, and don’t embarrass me. I have been burned just trying to help people.”
I thought, “You won’t be burned by me!”
I cannot tell you how excited I felt at that moment to think that I was about to get a boost from one of the biggest names in Hollywood, one of the biggest in the world! I was elated. In my dream, I was daydreaming about what it would be like for my book to become a bestseller.
Before I could give Mel Gibson my assurances, he asked a favor of me.
“Clark says we need a head count,” says Mel. “Can you get me one?”
I feel like that was the moment in the dream where I realized Mel Gibson was speaking at Clark Bosher’s church, but Bosher was not there.
I readily jumped up and took off. Up and down the aisles I went to get a headcount. The crowd was small in that big auditorium. I had not even counted 100 people. When I went through the double doors into the vestibule to count the people mingling there, those who had yet to enter the auditorium, I found the place was much grander than I knew. The best way I can describe it is it was like a very modern mall.
The first place I found was a salon. It was a cross between an upscale day spa and a Bloomingdale’s (or some such high-end women’s clothing store). The women milling about in there were the hoity-toity types who didn’t seem to be at church at all, but I counted them anyway. Next, there was a nursery. It smelled like a dirty diaper, so I just estimated the number of humans in there. Finally, there was a room that was either a casino, a Bingo room, or an arcade with a counter where they sold lottery tickets. I am not sure which, but it was loud and crowded and raucous as Hell, which seemed odd for a church, I admit.
Jimmy Taylor, an old adjuster friend, was there with his wife. (I haven’t seen Jimmy, mind you, in three years or so and only ever saw his wife a few times.) Jimmy had won something but he had to stand on a chair to reach a ticket to claim his prize. His distressed wife could not help him steady himself on the chair as he stood on tip toes and stretched as high as he could for the ticket. I felt obliged to stop counting heads and help my friend not fall.
From the church casino/bingo parlor/arcade, I went outdoors. A large passenger bus was pulled to the curb, and people were piling out of it. I started to count, but then I spotted Clark. He had come in with the group on the bus. Maybe they had been at a retreat. I do not know.
Before I could greet Clark, Mel Gibson and his unnamed publicist burst onto the scene. She was clearly in pain but calm.
“I am having a heart attack,” she told me. “I know you had trouble with your Widow-Maker. Can you give me one of your nitroglycerin pills?”
In full panic, I searched my pockets to no avail. She was clutching her chest and Mel Gibson was impatient.
“God, man!” he said. “The pills.”
“I don’t have them,” I said.
“Let’s get her to the hospital,” Pastor Clark insisted and hurried to open the door to a limousine.
“We don’t have time!” The woman gasped.
“Where is it?” Gibson asked.
“Across the street!” I said and pointed to a massive hospital that was literally across the street.
We loaded into the car and drove furiously across the street, whipped into the drop-off zone, and learned that, at the ground level, you have to enter the complex through the Starbucks.
Once inside, a helpful barista with purple hair and a nose ring told us, “The Atrium is accessible through there.” She pointed to an electric door leading to the interior of the building. “In the Atrium, there is an escalator to take you up to the second floor where you find a bank of elevators,” she said. “Take the elevator to the ninth floor. That is where the heart center is located.”
Meanwhile, Mel Gibson is sullen (more bothered than panicked), the possibly dying woman is angry, Clark is calm, cool, and collected, and I am certain Mel Gibson will not be promoting my book or lending me a publicist for it.
I do not know where Donya is or if she is in the final act. She may have bailed and retreated to her side of the bed, figuring my dream was just too weird.
I Dream On
I woke, of course, to no Mel Gibson, no theme park-like church, no Clark, no dying woman, and no idea why all of these things were part of the story my brain told itself while I lay sleeping.
The first thing I did, after getting over the disappointment about the book and my buddy Mel, was search the house for my nitroglycerin pills because what if that is part of the interpretation of the thing? I have not found them as yet and will call the doctor’s office to ask for more, just in case.
The second thing I did was write this sh*t down because of the way dreams tend to vanish like vapor.
(Speaking of Vapor, the work of my lifetime, the story of my life is still being written. Stay tuned.)
The third thing I did was promise myself not to give up and to keep writing. You never know when Mel Gibson might show up.
When I started Adjust U for Mid-America Catastrophe Services, I made our motto, “Dream up.”
My Dad used to tell me that I was always “dreaming up stuff.” He meant that I was coming up with things that weren’t so — or weren’t real.
I remember finally telling him, “Well, if I am going to dream, it might as well be up.”
(I said this jokingly. Backtalking my Dad was not a thing I was into. It was much too costly.)
He gave me one of those patented broad smiles that wrinkled his forehead and lifted his cowboy hat a half inch.
“You are my son. I won’t deny it.”
Dream up, y’all. When you do, if you see Mel Gibson ask him about that publicist.
For a dream cometh through the multitude of businessKing Solomon, Ecclesiastes 5:3, King James Version of the Holy Bible
Hear the audio version here…