I Had a Dream

Lying awake, I half-dreamed a novel plot in which an ordinary man dies, technically, on the operating table. The doctors revive him, and after weeks of slow and painful recovery, he goes back to his old life. He loves his wife and children more than ever, and, listening to Mozart, he finds himself on the verge of tears. Stranger things happen. He picks up the magazines he subscribes to--National Review, The American Conservative--and he drops them in disgust. He has discovered the hard way how sweet and meaningful life can be, and reading the trivializing arguments about elevating one set of crooks above another, he feels his life ebbing away again and sees the lights above the operating table.
He checks his email, and gets a series of FB notices. Eager to get back in touch with friends, he spends a half hour going through recent comments on BLM, COVID19, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, by people who know even less than he does about all of the above, but whose ignorance is no deterrent to an endless stream of ex cathedra pronouncements.
In near-desperation, he turns to The Daily Mail, Drudge, Google News. The room seems colder now. Is it the Autumn cold snap or the deadness of the prose?
As he walks to the basement with a smile on his face, his wife asks him if he needs something. "Nothing important, dear. I just want to split some kindling." As he finds his trusted splitting maul, he looks at the stack of oak, then asks himself, "Why not?" With maul in hand, he goes back upstairs and returns a few minutes later and, before attending to the firewood, picks out bits of screen and wiring caught on the blunt edge of the maul.
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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

6 Responses

  1. Vince Cornell says:

    I’ve found the temptation to check on the news is like worrying about when the hair holding up the Sword of Damocles will snap. I keep expecting to see the big headline that will tell me “Okay folks, show’s over, it’s all done.” I’ve had to restrict myself to only perusing the news during my morning cup of coffee, but it’s hard not to be curious about when exactly the fated doom will strike. Fortunately, that curiosity is only with me so long as I’m sitting in front of the computer. The rest of my life is too full for that particular worry. That should tell me something . . .

  2. Ben says:

    I’m sorry I think I missed it, why were there bits of screen and wiring caught on the blunt edge of the maul?

  3. Christopher Check says:

    Because, Ben, the man in the dream set himself free.

  4. Dot says:

    The dream was a nightmare and the bits of screen on the blunt edge of the maul was caused by a rapid heart beat that woke him/her up.

  5. Irv Phillips says:

    As I am amongst friends here, I can tell you that I have been involved in two murders. The first was in college. I believe the victim was Black and white, 13″, defenestrated from the 19th floor. It died rather quietly, unfortunately.
    The other victim was a Television of Color, circa 2005 or so. A few too many minutes of local news put me over the edge. This one, too, expired with little drama. Hey, my actions weren’t quite as satisfying (I would imagine) as tar-and-feathering a CNN anchor, but they didn’t get me in any trouble.

  6. Vince Cornell says:

    Tar-and-feathering a CNN anchor? Just don’t pick Anderson Cooper. I’m afraid he’d enjoy himself too much.