Deadline is a nightmare

By David Lindeman

Contributing Columnist

As I get older, I find that I remember a lot more of my dreams. Maybe it’s because I wake up so much more at night than I used to.

Whatever the reason, I find it odd the things that lurk around in my subconscious. I haven’t worked full-time at a newspaper for more than 20 years, but by far my biggest recurring dream has to do with getting a newspaper out before deadline.

There I am, sitting at a computer terminal, trying to get the paper finished. I can’t seem to remember what to do next or maybe the computer isn’t working or maybe there’s a reporter who can’t finish a story. Why this should still haunt me almost 25 years later is a real mystery.

Just the other night, I dreamed I was on a school bus trying to finish the front page. The computer was messing up, reporters who will remain nameless to protect the guilty were way past their deadlines, and since I was driving around in a bus, I was having trouble with my internet connection. What was I doing on a school bus? What a nightmare! I woke up just in time.

The deadline dream has replaced what was my recurring anxiety attack earlier in life. I still occasionally have a dream where I’m in high school and I can’t find my locker. Was it A hall or D hall? What was the combination?

When I walked into the front door at Troy High School in 1970, I was scared stiff. I was going from St. Patrick’s to the high school and the high school seemed enormous to me. It was as confusing as Hogwarts. I guess that’s where this dream started.

The only way to end the locker dream is to go to the dean’s office and ask about my locker and combination. I had this dream so many times that the people in the dean’s office knew I was coming and would roll their eyes when I showed up. Fortunately, I hardly have this dream at all anymore.

There is a variation of this dream — it’s when I can’t find my locker and I’m not wearing any pants or any clothes at all. Sometimes I’m somewhere else and suddenly I realize I’m the only one there who forgot to wear clothes. The real disturbing thing about this is that often it appears no one else even notices.

One other recurring dream reaches far back into my past — the basketball dream. I haven’t played basketball seriously for many years (some of my teammates would probably say I never actually did). Yet, I have this dream where I can’t dribble and I can’t make a shot. Really frustrating.

I suppose there is some psychiatrist out there sitting below his framed portrait of Sigmund Freud reading this and thinking, “Ach nein! A clear case of paranoid schizoid early childhood psychological perturbation syndrome! For the good of society, this man should be put in a locker and the combination should be lost!” But I never dream about psychiatrists, so I’m not going to worry about it.

In fact, I suppose things could be worse. I could be dreaming about lunatic dictators who seem determined to start World War III or a global medical crises that we can’t figure out or worldwide environmental disasters that could destroy the planet. Wait … all those things do seem kind of familiar. Did I dream them? Maybe I should do some more thinking about that, but in the meantime I’d better get this column sent in before deadline — I wouldn’t want to be the cause of someone else’s nightmares.