Sunday, December 06, 2009

Memento mori: "such stuff as dreams are made on"

The Dance of Death (1493)
Michael Wolgemut
(Image from Wikipedia)

I awoke the night before last at two in the morning to find my dear wife embracing me, and I vaguely wondered if I had been calling out in my dream . . . except that I hadn't been dreaming, I realized, as I slipped back into sleep.

The next morning, I woke my wife and asked her if I had cried out in my sleep, but she said no, that she had dreamt a dreadful nightmare. In her dream, some Islamist who violently objected to a number of my blog posts had threatened me, but I refused to back down. Indeed, I was adamant. My wife then had to go off on some pressing errand like buying a loaf of bread or something (such stuff dreams are made on), leaving me alone in my obstinacy.

Upon her return, she found me dead.

She began screaming, "No! No! No!" -- waking herself up. As often happens in such moments, she was unsure if she had merely dreamt of my demise. She turned and looked at me intently, saw that I was lying in exactly the same position as when I had fallen asleep the night before, grew alarmed to think that I really might be dead, and thus embraced me to find out.

On hearing all this, I calmed her still lingering fears:
"Don't worry, Sun-Ae. If some terrorist threatened me, I wouldn't be adamant. I'd back down because I'm a coward."
She laughed, but wasn't sure if I was joking or not. Neither am I. Death comes for us all, I'm told, and there's a lot of evidence for that proposition, so I reckon that I'll have to go sometime . . . but hopefully not in tiny fragments or riddled with holes or in some other cripplingly violent manner as would leave me incapable of dancing off into the otherworldly distance to the tune of Totentanz.

For the nonce, I'm still here . . .

Labels: , , ,


At 10:29 PM, Blogger Sa-Rah said...


So mama dreamed about you passing away because of some terrorists?
Well, I'm really glad that that was just a dream!
I would probably never stop crying if it really happened.

Oh, and it's good that you wrote so that I could understand! Finally... finally... I can read somthing and understand it!!



At 3:54 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Finally? Didn't you also read something a couple of days ago . . . and also understand it?

Anyway, what worries me more than possible terrorist actions against me (for what terrorist would waste his time?), is that as you grow older, you'll begin to understand too much of what is written here.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Sa-Rah said...

I'll be carefull as I get older.
And... I'll probably learn to understand which things to meant to stay away from - information that is not worth knowing of or learning at that age - and keep away.

Dont worry, be happy!


At 10:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

A few corrections:

"And . . . I'll probably learn to understand which things I'm meant to stay away from -- information that is not worth knowing, or not worth learning about at that age -- and keep away."

Grammar aside, you've just expressed the dilemma of our human condition, Sa-Rah. We only learn to recognize what we need not know after we've come to know it . . . generally speaking, of course.

Milton has a lot to say on this point in his essay Areopagitica.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are far from a coward. I have always thought of you as being very brave.


At 7:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


That's only because I used to climb great big oak trees to their tippy tops and swing around like a buffoon up there at those towering heights.

That was recklessness, not bravery.

But thanks, anyway, for the vote of brotherly confidence.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home