IT'S A DEAD MAN'S PARTY
Dreamed 1988/10/18 by Chris Wayan
A ring of people circle something I can't see. There are gaps where all the young women have left; and all the young men but a few stragglers. There goes another... they wise up and leave. Because there's no future here.
Only one youngish man left now, in his stiff suit. He's surrounded by old men: dried-up Republicans, with campaign buttons. It's a ring of conservatism, of received and unquestioned values. What's at the center of the ring? A dead man. A dead... candidate.
It's not a funeral, but a wake. To wake him! They're trying to wake the dead by singing and chanting reactionary slogans... But he lies there like leather. Dead ideas can't give a dead man life.
Looks to me like the lone young man in the ring just wants to belong. He hasn't questioned these values because he wants to stay here, in the only group he knows. But when all the fossils die, he'll be alone, and stigmatized by this embarrassing past. I sneak up to the young man and whisper "In the 21st century you'll be the only person on the planet who prayed to a dead candidate! You'll be THE MOST ARCHAIC PERSON ALIVE."
He doesn't want to listen to me--too scared these wrinkled old men and women will reject him! Too scared of ridicule now, to see his ridiculous future!
And the wrinkles are an issue. The dead candidate was suing someone for putting extra wrinkles in his face, before he died. Now the GOP circle is continuing the suit, as well as the candidacy of the dead man.
But the judge in the case is an old Democratic woman who sneaks up and simply smoothes out the dead man's wrinkles! When the circle notices what she's done, they re-wrinkle the dead face to keep their lawsuit alive... If not their candidate.
It's true, Republicans are kind of a death cult--pro-weapon, from handguns up to nukes. And an ancestor cult--they worship the past when it comes to values, religion... and candidates! That spineless young man looked like Dan Quayle, I'm afraid. Our next Vice President, I'm afraid. I'm afraid. You should be.
But I'm afraid that idiot in the dream was also me--my feelings that is. Emotionally, I'm still a teen--I still crave group acceptance without asking if I accept the group, or even respect it...
What a nightmare! To find there's a bit of Dan Quayle in me.
At least there was a strong part of me skeptical of the cult. In fact, more than one: piece by piece, I'd been slipping away from the circle. From the cult of habit.
THE NEXT DAY
After writing down the dream, I went out to breakfast and picked up the paper. Herb Caen's column had a cruel but accurate Dan Quayle joke. Dan has just enough brain to know he has no brain, so when he has a problem, he runs to his daddy to fix it. If Daddy can't, HE runs to HIS daddy. But if even Grampa can't fix it, no need to worry or put any effort out: it can't BE fixed.
Yep. That's Danny. And the question is, what kind of party nominates an empty-headed infant?
As I bike to work I find myself singing that dance song by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, "It's A Dead Man's Party." They wrote it as a fun Halloween thing. Now, in the cold November light, as elections loom, that word "party" has acquired, for me, a darker meaning.
The Dead Man's Party may win.
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