The other night I dreamt an idea so profound that I had to write it on the notepad by my bed, before returning to my slumbers. We've all read accounts of dreams inspiring great works of literature or music or even scientific breakthroughs. This isn't one of those accounts. I'm not saying the stories are untrue. I understand that one of Paul McCartney's most beloved melodies came to him while he slept at his family's home on London's Wimple Street. He slumbered that night to the accompaniment of a string ensemble playing an unfamiliar but enchanting piece in his head. The young musician then awoke, stumbled over to the piano in his bedroom, and tapped out for the very first time the tune we now recognize as Yesterday. Mary Shelley's story Frankenstein was inspired by a similar (well, maybe not that similar) nocturnal vision. And then there's Otto Loewi, the German physiologist who dreamed up a theory of chemical transmissions of nerve impulses that later earned him the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Loewi observed, "most so-called 'intuitive' discoveries are associations made in the subconscious." Okay, Otto was a Nobel Laureate, not a poet laureate, but I agree with him. In fact, many ideas I've used in the courtroom and in my writings were born while I dozed. And I can't even count the number of times I've been inspired to apologize to my wife for my boorish behavior in her dreams. I know, I know: such an apology seems to make no logical sense. But a quarter century of marital peace informs me otherwise.
Stay thirsty, my friends.
So yes, I definitely believe that dreams can spark significant events. And the thought that came to me in the wee hours last Wednesday was so enlightening -- and so fraught with meaning -- that I immediately recognized it would change my world, and possibly the world's world. This was something I could write a whole book about. Did I say book? I could build an entire philosophy around it. I would become the next Paulo Coelho or, better yet, that Dos Equis guy with the white beard who doesn't want us to hydrate. And then would come the save-the-planet tours with Bono, movie deals, silk-screened T-shirts -- maybe even an Oprah interview. I was excited, to be sure.
When I arose a few hours later to get ready for work (I assumed it would be at least a couple weeks before I could pursue philosophizing and Dos-Equis-quaffing on a full-time basis), I rubbed the blur from my eyes and reached for my pad. And then I read aloud, for the very first time, my nocturnal revelation:
"No American ever saw an amnesiac first."
Yes, this is the exact phrase I recorded on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 3:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time -- the profound idea that would change everything. Wow. I know ... right? Wow. What's that? No, I have no idea what it means, either.
My head hurts just thinking about it.
How on earth did I ever believe that this was an enlightening thought? Oh yeah: it was three in the morning. It's a little scary how the human brain can convince us (at least at the time) that the most ludicrous things we say and do in our dreams make sense or are even great ideas. Thankfully, my mind still functioned well enough when I awoke to conclude this particular "profound" idea made no sense.
But don't get me wrong: if anybody does make sense of this whole American/amnesiac thing, I still want a cut of the T-shirt royalties.
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