Am I Dreaming?

Voice Card  -  Volume 13  -  John Card Number 16  -  Wed, Apr 25, 1990 04:33 PM

This is a response to Vol 13 Drury 7 ("What a Woman")...


Is it really so foolish to think that a woman can be "benignly off-center"? Am I asking for the moon when I ask for a woman with a sense of humor? "Throw in a love of sex while your at it!" you say; and I reply: "Why not?"

Why not, indeed? Laughter, touching, the occassional bit of zaniness: why should these things be so hard to obtain? Children have no problem giving these gifts to each other. Why do so many adults turn their backs on these simple pleasures, and ridicule those who still seek them out? As if unwashed socks are somehow more "real" than hugs.

You ask if I make myself laugh every day. YES! YES! Every hour! Don't you? Even after more than thirty years I never fail to amuse myself. Granted, I refrain from laughing out loud most of the time. I have learned that people who walk around laughing to themselves tend to be netted and taken away in white padded vans. So I have developed instead a kind of Mona Lisa smile.

And believe it or not, there ARE women who think I am funny (not just strange or annoying). Moreover, I know SEVERAL couples who have been married for many years who still make each other laugh EVERY DAY. I have seen this with my own eyes. And two different women have told me that this trick of shared laughter was the single most important ingredient in their long and successful marriages.

And as for this bag of crunch-o's that no woman on the planet can possibly accept: let us clarify what this symbol does and does not stand for. I do not LITERALLY force breakfast cereals on the women I become invovled with. In fact, when given access to decent restaurants, my palate is relatively refined.

The crunch-o's, as I see it, stand for a tendency to sometimes put ideals and aspirations before comfort and safety. I will sometimes go hungry for the sake of a beautiful sunset. Very impractical! Not at all good for the digestion!

Women, on the whole, seem to be more practical than men and so take a dim view of this "going hungry for a sunset" business. OK. I can accept that. It takes all kinds. I am willing to tolerate a certain amount of practicality. All I ask in return is that my dream woman tolerate a certain amount of idealism. Not a lot. Just a little. The crunch-o's stand for JUST A LITTLE nonsense along the way.

I understand that, in a way, I AM asking for the moon. It seems to me that tolerance and humor should not be hard to find, and yet they are rare as rainbows and almost as hard to catch. Most grown-ups seem to believe, deep down, that "No one is tolerant of my strangeness so why in the hell should I be tolerant of theirs? And what is there to laugh at, anyway? What the hell's so funny about unpaid bills and unwashed socks?"

This is the "realistic" attitude that many people take, men and women both. And if anyone dares to challenge this attitude he is immediately shouted down. "Grow up!" chants the chorus. "Give up your dreams. Give in to the ordinary. What? Laughter? Every day?!! What nonsense! Obviously you have not washed enough socks! SOCKS every day, now that's something I can believe in!"

You have heard this chorus, Drury. Think of all the people who told you that you could never become a veterinarian. "Give it up! Vet schools are harder to get into than Medical schools! Your grades aren't high enough! You don't have enough money! You're not being REALISTIC." For every dreamer there are a thousand sock washers. And yet even the most bitter and ruined sock washer still secretly roots for dreamers, and harbors the hidden hope that somewhere, someone's dream will come true.

Dreamers are always underestimated. Sock washers assume that the only reason dreamers don't "accept reality" is that they are inexperienced, that they have never had a dream smashed and broken by an uncaring world. Dreamers, they assume, don't understand the power of unwashed socks.

But that's missing the point. The question is not "which is more potent, socks or dreams?" The question is "If you're going to believe in something, doomed or not, what do you want to believe in?" Socks or dreams. These are the two great camps we must choose between and right or wrong, our lives will form around our choice. I say: Better a defeated dreamer than a victorious sock washer! Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all!

I stand with the camp of those who say "Laughter every day: that is something we can believe in!" Across the way is the camp of those who say "Unwashed socks every day: that is something WE can believe in!"

But unwashed socks speak for themselves. Who will speak for laughter if we do not?

What camp are you in, Drury?