Archive - Midget RSS Feed

In Your Dreams

Dreams are a funny thing. In fact, today’s blog post comes to you almost directly from my dreams. (It’s 4:00 AM as I’m writing this. ) Sometime in the night I was dreaming that I should write a post called something like “Live Alive” or “Live This Day” or “Live Today.” It was going to essentially be about making sure you take advantage of today, carpe diem—or perhaps, because dreams are often so jumbled, per diem. Also in this dream, I was watching cartoons on TV in my parents’ old house at 2:00 AM. So there’s that.

Although I haven’t had it in a long time, I used to have this recurring nightmare where scary hooded people in brown robes would be trying to talk to me, but I could only hear their voices as gibberish. I could tell that what they were saying was important, but I just couldn’t make it out. First they’d be far away, speaking loudly, just not loudly enough that I could quite hear. Then, all of a sudden, they’d be right up in my face, whispering, barely audible, but I still couldn’t understand what they were saying, like they were speaking in tongues or something. (Usually I would have this nightmare when I was sick and sleeping with a fever.) Even just recalling it now reminds me of that freaky movie Phantasm, which I watched just once with my good friend Heath. The bad guy, the Tall Man, worked in a funeral parlor, making normal people into tiny dwarves, reconstituting them from their own cremated ashes to become slaves who would mine for him in his own dimension. (It was a romantic comedy, obviously.)

Once when I was in graduate school, I mentioned the voices dream to my friend Christine, and she said “Oh, everybody has that!” Then she told me about her worst kind of freaky dream, which she called “bed spins.” What she described wasn’t like the bed bouncing around in The Exorcist, but more like when you come home from a day at an amusement park, sick and disoriented from riding rides. You probably know what I’m talking about: Even though you don’t feel all spinny, when you lie down and try to sleep, the room keeps rotating around you. (She said a night out drinking also does that; although I joke about that sometimes, I’ve never actually done that.)

One recurring theme I actually enjoy in my dreams is when I can fly. There’s always some “trick” to it, though, like I have to keep kicking to stay airborne. The faster I kick, the higher I can go, lifting myself slowly up over fences and onto rooftops. (That’s pretty high for me.) What it feels like is akin to swimming, only in the air. “I’m Superman! I can fly!”

I hear people talk all the time about a recurring dream where they’re naked or in their underwear. Honestly, I’ve never had that dream. If I started having a dream like that this late in life, I’d probably suspect something was going on like that episode of Northern Exposure where everybody’s dreams got switched around and Maurice was all freaked out because his recurring dream had him wearing women’s underwear, and he was afraid whoever ended up with his dreams would tell everybody and embarrass him.

Strangely, my worst nightmare is one where I learn that my high school was auditing its records and discovered that because I went to vo-tech, I didn’t actually have enough classes to graduate, so they rescinded my diploma. As a result, I was no longer qualified to be admitted to college, so then all of my colleges stripped me of all my degrees. I mentioned this dream once to Roger, one of my professors in graduate school, and I asked him if that kind of dream ever goes away. (Roger was an older guy, in his mid-60’s or so.) He laughed and said, “No, it just changes into different variations.” Then he told me about his recurring dream: He’s late getting to his class to teach (as he often was in real life). He walks into the classroom and starts immediately, all flustered, and everybody’s looking at him all strange, and he begins to realize he doesn’t recognize any of these people, and he’s actually walked into the wrong room, teaching the wrong course to the wrong students. But at least he was wearing pants. And he was nobody’s mining slave dwarf.

In your dreams, whose underwear are you wearing? Did you watch too much TV and too many movies when you were a kid? (I suspect I may have.) Do you have any weird or scary recurring dreams? What’s wrong with you, anyway? Weirdo.

Midget Disillusion

Early in our marriage, Kendra taught third grade at a 99% minority school. It was important to her for me to come and visit her class at least a few times each school year. The picture below shows several of her kids from 1994 or so. (On the day this picture was taken, her other eight kids were in Lab.) Now, I’m gonna be honest: I had been reluctant to visit this particular school, mainly because it was so different from anything in my own experience. I was nervous how her students might receive me. But of course our relationship was really important to me—or at least I had convinced myself of something like that—so I promised I would come. Kendra started building anticipation, brainwashing them about how great I was.

Kids from Kendra’s Class

She kept hounding me: “When? Can you get some time off work? When are you coming? They’re crazy excited to meet you.”

I really just didn’t get it. It wasn’t like I was an astronaut or anything. I was just a completely ordinary guy with a completely ordinary job. (Extremely foxy, of course, but entirely ordinary otherwise.) And her kids knew pretty much exactly what to expect. She had already told them all about me. She even had a picture of us from when we were dating (below) prominently displayed on her desk. But she assured me that they were absolutely normal third graders. They just loved their teacher—everything about her—so they just couldn’t wait to meet me too.

Kendra and Brannon Dating PortraitSo finally I went. I had been to Kendra’s school before, during the days before classes started, helping her carry boxes of teacher stuff into her classroom. So I knew where I was going. Although her school was like every school—smelling of an unholy blend of industrial cleaning products, that fresh, woody smell of sharpened pencils, and various kid odors—I walked awkwardly down the green mile from the office to her room, feeling somewhat like a unicorn in Manhattan. I was totally out of my element.

When I was about twelve or so doors away from her room, a young gentleman of about eight years passed me in the hallway, sizing me up with a long, slow, menacing glare. I smiled back brightly. But my pleasantness apparently only disgusted him all the more. He went on, disappearing around the corner ahead of me.

As I turned down that last hallway and forced myself the few remaining steps to her room, I drew in a deep breath. I cranked my charm up to eleven and strolled nonchalantly through her door. All eyes turned immediately to me. I heard an audible gasp—and then the room fell deathly silent. Only Kendra smiled, proudly introducing me and then telling me animatedly a little about each child. I could tell she was enjoying this rare opportunity to tease and embarrass them. Once Kendra was satisfied that I’d served my time, she announced that I had to leave. Their frowns clearly communicated that nobody cared. I thanked them for having me, lied that it was great to meet everybody, and left. If anything, the entire ordeal had been anticlimactic.

Even so, when Kendra arrived home that night, she seemed much more excited than usual to tell me about her day. She hugged me and thanked me again for coming to see them. She looked like she’d been smiling ever since I had closed her classroom door behind me. Then she related the portion of my visit that had unfolded behind the scenes:

Just moments before I had walked in, Eugene, one of her boys, burst into the room, returning from a visit to the bathroom, exclaiming:

“Miss GOH-den! Miss GOH-den! There’s a WHITE man in the hallway!”

(Eugene was the charming lad from the hallway who had stared me down.) All of Kendra’s other kids began chiding him, telling him he was crazy. Of course there was NO reason for a white man to be in their building…and then I walked in.

After I had left, all of her children were uncharacteristically quiet, only occasionally whispering to each other. Although Kendra at first enjoyed this pleasant change, eventually she was compelled to ask what was going on. Clearly, I had gravely disappointed them.

Aurelius finally admitted matter-of-factly:

“Miss GOH-den, we thought your husband was a MIDGET!”

Have you ever disappointed someone because you weren’t a little person? Have you ever been disappointed because you THOUGHT you were going to get to meet a little person—but then DIDN’T? Have you ever noticed that in every posed group photograph taken since 1982, at least one person feels compelled to throw up a made-up gang sign (usually a boy), and at least one other person poses like a Laker girl (usually a girl)?