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In My Vivid Dreams Shit Happens

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on March 7, 2018

Sometimes I use blogs like this one to talk about my dreams, which are often an outlet for emotional stress in my life, in the same manner blogging became an outlet for me to try to communicate things I couldn’t otherwise talk about, like unrequited love, in another blog.

I had a dream a little while ago that woke me up (as they tend to do). It wasn’t a nightmare, as such, but, as my dreams tend to be, it was weird.

In this dream, I’m driving down a wide road, a dirt road. It is daytime. I see a huge muddy puddle on the left, which is spilling over to my side of the road. I decide to avoid it, and pull more to the right. However, that gets me stuck in sand. Nevermind what kind of road this is, I am familiar with it, but not sure exactly where I am. Part of my semi-conscious brain says this is a certain road I know, but that road is paved, and always has been in my experience. At any rate, I back up immediately, and the car is free. I continue backing up and back into a driveway on my right (which is oddly paved). I pull out of the driveway and start to head in the opposite direction, since the road appears to be impassable.

But, I don’t get far. I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening, but I found myself stopped on that road, mostly on the opposite side of the street, pointing in the right direction, but not moving. In fact, I am lying on my side on the seat. Seems like I fell over. I try to pull myself up, but I don’t have the strength. It is only a matter of grabbing the door to haul myself back up to a sitting position, and I try repeatedly. I almost make it, and I know I will, but something is not letting me complete the motion. As I write this, I think: seatbelt? Anyway, the little movie in my head continues. I notice it is getting dark. I reach up with my left hand and pull on the headlights. headlight pull The switch is an old-fashioned knob like cars in the 50s and 60s would have had, not the modern buttons or levers. With the lights on, I feel safer, and just then a car with its lights on passes me, going in the direction I left. I tap on the horn. Was I signaling the car hello, warning, or help? It would only have taken a long honk to get their attention, but I feel like I don’t need help. But, I was hoping they would stop.

I try getting up again, knowing I can, but I am sluggish. I seem to move in slow motion; my body is not responding to commands as it should. Then, of course, I am awake. I remember dreams like this where I can’t move, and it is because I’m asleep. As I realize I’m awake, I start to sit up, and sure enough, I can move. Whew! OK. What the hell was that all about?

Was I thinking about strokes or heart attacks? Was my body trying to tell me something again? No, I feel fine. I used to hate those dreams that ended like that. It usually happened with a nightmare, like being chased. I had to run, or yell, but my body wouldn’t respond. I’d struggle, and struggle, and sometimes get a little squeaky sound out of my mouth.

One time, when I was a still quite young, I dreamed that the wolves that lived in the shadows of my room every night had come over to my small bed and were biting my hand, which was draped over the side. I couldn’t pull my hand away. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t. I knew I had to call for help, but my throat seemed paralyzed, just like my body. I kept trying, and finally made little sounds, and then slightly bigger sounds, and then, in some kind of paradigm shift, (if you’ll pardon the scientific reference), I was suddenly fully in control of my body and screamed. Screamed bloody murder, as people used to say.

My parents showed up quickly, and turned on the lights. I told them a wolf was biting me. Seems the dog that we’d had for a short while was licking my hand while I was dreaming. Possibly I’d been waving my hand around, and he tried to help. Or, maybe he thought I was being attacked? Anyway, my hand was fine, and there were no tooth marks that I recall. Unfortunately, my parents decided to get rid of the dog. Actually, I’m betting it was my overprotective mother who told my dad to get rid of it. It was gone for a few days, and I missed it. One day it suddenly showed up again, and that made me very happy. My parents were quite surprised to see it. I hugged it and petted it. It was happy to see me. I remember thinking about the incident years later, and, based on things I’d heard, decided my dad had simply driven the dog far away and left it somewhere, as people use to do, or perhaps he left it with someone, and the dog found his way back. Anyway, the dog was there, but I remember very little about it after that. It was gone, and I can’t remember when. I think my parents just got rid of it while I was at school, which is always a sad thought, but I can’t remember. In their defense, my mom was probably pregnant again, and they feared the dog might go after the baby.

I was talking about the dream I had this morning. Once I was fully awake, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Started up my little coffee maker. Fed the cats, even though it wasn’t light yet. I thought about the dream, thought about the times I’d dreamt of cars when I was young. For some reason, in the 1950s, people felt they could leave children in the car while they ran into a store or something for a “few minutes.” It always seemed to me to take forever. I’d sit in the car, and scare myself by wondering what would happen if the car suddenly started moving. I was too young to drive, and couldn’t yet reach the pedals easily. I knew about turning the key, and pressing the gas pedal, but the driving part was a mystery. One time I scooted over into the driver’s place (front seats were all one piece back then, and kids sat in the front with a parent if no one else was in the car). I played around with the steering wheel, pretending to be driving along, imaging myself on the road. The parking brake was easily accessible, and I accidentally released it; the car started to drift backwards, as it was on a hill. I managed to get my foot on the brake by scooching down, and I stayed like that for a long time, what really seemed like forever, until my mom returned. I told her the car had started rolling, and I stopped it. She thanked me. I asked her what would happen if the car had rolled into the street. She told me that was why people turned the wheels at an angle when parking, so the tires would hit the curb if the car should roll. I always remembered to do that many years after.

In my dreams, after that incident, the car would start rolling, and the wheels were turned the wrong way. The car would pick up speed as I coasted forward down the street, an exhilarating feeling, but scary, because I wasn’t big enough to hold the steering wheel and press down on the brake at the same time. In some dreams, I could reach the brake, but it didn’t work. I became better and better, in my dreams, at navigating the car through traffic, because the car always kept moving. One day, I asked my mom about that, asked her how would she stop the car if the brake didn’t work. She told me she could use the emergency brake. “What if it didn’t work?” I asked her. I was like that, so full of questions. She told me she’d always both throw the emergency brake on and put the car into reverse gear. It would mess up the engine, but the car would stop. I never had those dreams anymore. Thanks Mom! But I do wish you hadn’t ever left me alone like that in the car. Or ever left me alone ever.

Of course, this whole train of though awakened more. I remember, hell, I never forgot, the time my parents drove to a relative’s house to do something, maybe attend a funeral. I don’t recall doing anything bad while I was there, but my father took me into a room and told me to sit there (on a wooden chair) and keep quiet. So I did. He’d closed the door behind him. I stared at the wallpaper covered walls. I remember hearing some noises, but since my dad had told me to sit and be quiet, that’s what I did. It turned out that my parents, the relative, and the other kids at the time all loaded into the car and went. I just sat. It was excruciating. I stared at the fleur de lis wallpaper. wallpaper                 I counted how many times the pattern on it repeated, up and down the walls. Double checked my counts.

Wall clock The wall clock chimed. It did that a lot, on the hour every hour, and I think on the half hours too. Analog wall clocks used to do that. Every time the clock struck it increased my loneliness. I began to panic. It was hard to sit still. I liked to explore, to look around, to examine things. There was a boring church calendar on the wall. I kept counting images in the wallpaper around it. I felt like I was in some kind of limbo. I hated it.

It felt a lot like when I woke up one night at a young age, and couldn’t see. All the lights were out, and there seemed to be a haze in the air. There was some very faint light coming in the window from far away, but not enough that I could see anything clearly. It had scared me the first time I’d done that; I’d felt acutely alone, as if I was trapped by myself. Maybe that’s what makes infants cry at night? I had also wondered if I was going blind. I hadn’t gone for my parents because, well, I’d already cried wolf once (literally), and I didn’t want to wake them again. Years later, I’d had an even stranger experience while accidentally overdosed on paregoric, and after experiencing bizarre visions while awake, I woke them up. You betcha believe it.

Eventually, that day in the strange house, my parents came back. My dad was upset, but not, oddly, angry. He wanted to know why I hadn’t come with them. I reminded him that he’d told me to sit and be quiet, and he hadn’t come back for me. He’d always made it clear I was to do as he said until he said otherwise. I thought he would give me a new command when it was time to go. He hadn’t. He’d forgotten me. My fault somehow. One time, years later, in anger, he called me a literal-minded idiot.

So my brain just kept on going this morning. I went to the kitchen, pulled my coffee cup out of the mini espresso maker. I make Americanos by filling the machine with enough water to fill my cup. It keeps flowing through the grounds until my cup is full, but I have to then shut the machine off. I didn’t forget to do that this morning! I sugared and creamed my coffee, and went back to the computer to finish writing this. But before I did that I went back to the kitchen for something. Once there I had no idea what. As I walked back to my computer, I realised it was my coffee I’d wanted to get, but I’d already gotten it, and it was on my desk. I’d been typing before I’d started the coffee, and kept telling myself to stop and go get it, so it seems my brain doesn’t always turn the messages off that I send myself after I do what I was thinking about. That idea made me think about my brain, and forgetfulness, and strokes and heart attacks again. Had a heart attack once; got fixed up. Strokes are a possibility for anyone, at any time, but mostly due to blood clots getting to the brain, I believe. Haven’t had any injuries recently, or had any problems with clots, but you never know.

You noticed I had visions as a child on paregoric, didn’t you? I mentioned it above. It’s a fine story. I know this whole post is getting longer than most, but my brain is spinning this morning after that odd dream earlier. So, anyway, I was a sickly kid, with pneumonia, swollen sinuses, fevers, coughs, a ruptured appendix with blood poisoning, and later, asthma, followed by severe pollen and dust allergies. Kind of clumsy too. Fell into an unfinished basement of a new building once, and cracked my head on a rock. Fell out of a tree in the rain once when I was older, while trying to fix the roof of the treehouse my brother John and I had built, and broke my arm. Always something.

So oh, once upon a time, I had a cough, a bad one that wouldn’t let me or my mother sleep, so she’d put me to bed with a spoonful of paregoric. paregoric Now paregoric is a medicine consisting of opium or morphine, flavored with camphor, aniseed, and benzoic acid, formerly used to treat diarrhea and coughing in children. (To this day I love the smell and flavor of anise or licorice.) My mother used it on us often. I think she overdid it that night. I had been coughing long and hard, and she may have given me two spoonsful, or more. I woke up later, in that odd underlit time of night where I could only see a little. I was used to it by then. However, staring at the wall wasn’t very useful, because it was too dark to see anything clearly. I had played with toy soldiers, and even seen or played with toy civil war soldiers, and I must have seen a movie with knights in armor. Suddenly there were uniformed soldiers fighting on the wall, chasing each other with guns, up and down hills, and there were explosions too, but there was no sound. I was fascinated! I had sat up on the bed, and could make out the bedposts, pillow, and blanket. But then the soldiers morphed into men fighting with swords and guns, in blue or grey uniforms, but in the same place. Then the scene shifted again, and there were brightly colored knights in chain mail with huge swords and horses, charging each other, and having sword fights. I was enjoying it. I don’t know how long I watched. Well, technically, I guess I wasn’t really seeing anything, just imagining it, but it was so intensely vivid! It seemed to be playing within the wall, as what would later become known as three-dimensional imaging. The bedposts created a nice frame.

Again, the scene shifted, but became jumbled. An inverted cone appeared before my eyes. I was looking into it from the wide bottom, up to a point that seemed to be infinitely far away. It disturbed me, but I also felt the need to pee. Having peed in my bed in the past, I wasn’t going to repeat that experience, just because I might be dreaming. (I had once dreamed I’d gotten up, had gone into the bathroom, and had stood over the toilet trying to pee but couldn’t, until I’d finally let it all out, and suddenly my legs had been very warm, and I realized, very wet, and I’d woken all the way up, in bed. A terrible thing to have to wake your parents up for, or admit to anyone.) So, this time, I got up, before that could happen. I wasn’t sure if I was awake or not, but it seemed I was awake. Except, except there was still that inverted cone in front of my face, and it made walking difficult. When I looked down, it seemed like the cone was a hole in the floor. When I looked around, the cone was directly in front of me everywhere. But, I could see a little around the edges. I made it to the bathroom, and peed, hopefully into the toilet bowl, because when I looked down, there was still this cone that seemed to bore through the toilet and floor.

By this time, I knew had to tell my parents. I was at least ten years old at the time, but I was scared. “Mom! Dad!” I think I yelled. “Something’s wrong with me, with my eyes.” They turned the lights on. It got worse. Now the cone was still there, but its inner surface was coated with sawdust, or looked like sand, something like that. The weird thing was that I couldn’t see my parents’ faces; all I saw were arms, and legs, and hands, and an alarm clock, and the lamp, things like that. They kept popping into and out of the cone, which was rotating. It wouldn’t stop. My father was telling me to wake up. I kept telling him, “I am awake!” Once I thought I saw his face in the cone, another time, someone’s head. I could talk with them, hear them OK, but the vision wouldn’t stop, and it was scaring me. My mother called the doctor. He said to give me soup. She heated up some soup, hers or canned, I don’t recall, but she often gave me Campbell’s’ chicken noodle when I was sick. My father kept talking to me while she was gone. He could see I was awake. He stopped telling me to wake up. I could feel concern in his voice. It was comforting, but the cone kept spinning. “I just want it to stop,” I told him. Mom came back with the soup. I ate it while sitting on their bed. After a few large spoonsful the visions cleared, and I felt fine. The soup may have diluted the paregoric, or distracted my brain. I don’t know for sure what it did, but it worked. I was fine. I went back to bed. They never mentioned it again. And the spoonsful of paregoric stopped. End of story.

 

Posted in 1960s, Dreams, humor, Life, madness, My Life, rambling | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Dreaming of Random Acts of Sex and Situations Intolerable

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 1, 2014

One Foot Over the Line 2 Woke up this morning early, dreaming. I had stayed up until 1:00 am, but I was wide awake at 5:30am. I ran a lot last evening, in the rain, with lightning just a few miles away. It was the first time I’d run in the rain. I liked it; I was able to keep my body temp down while running. Cool, in reality.

The doves are cooing and I have my coffee now. I decided to post because my dream fascinated me. In my dream, I had decided to live on the street. I know, I know, one does not just “decide” to do such a thing, but hey, it was a dream. I had some sort of small tent or structure over me, and I was under a large blanket, peering out at life on the street. Part of me wondered what I’d done with all my stuff. That part of my brain decided that I still had a car and had my stuff in that.

As I peered out, I saw a couple I knew. I knew the male better than his partner, but they came over and looked in at me. Suddenly the woman was getting into my tent, box or whatever it was I was in, and she was naked. So was I. She climbed under my blanket and lay on top of me. Her skin was warm and smooth. I was in heaven. Then, of course, this guy also came in. He seemed a bit hesitant at first, but he came in and lay down next to the woman. I had no idea what was going on.

In fact, I quickly realised that the two people didn’t know who I was, that I was out of context, and in the poor light available, they hadn’t recognised me, as I had thought. That raised interesting questions to me. Did they do this sort of thing all the time? Did they seek out homeless men to sleep with? Should I tell them I know them? As I pondered ways to shock them with my knowledge of their identity and introduce myself, I realized I’d forgotten their names, which killed my element of surprise, so I said nothing about myself.

Realizing that they were probably expecting sex, especially since the woman had her hand on my erection, but I wasn’t into either this ménage à trois stuff, or sex with men, I wasn’t sure what to say or do. The male asked me if it was alright. I said I wasn’t into men sexually. He asked me why. I told him that men just didn’t turn me on, and he, of course, wanted to know why I wasn’t curious. I told him, I had been curious, but I had gotten over that. I went into a reverie, and could no longer tell if I was just in my head or speaking out loud.

I remembered my roommate from when I’d first left home. He was into young boys, his words. I accepted that about him, but came to realize he was also intererested in me. In fact, he was four years older than me. I’d thought of him as a friend, but he had other ideas. Nothing ever came of that, not for lack of trying on his part, but I’d had to punch him a bit to finally dissuade him.

Shortly after that experience, my best friend had been a lesbian. That doesn’t mean that I learned anything from the experience, but years later, on a trip to Canada, where my old roommate had become an expatriate, I had needed his help getting across the border, after a run in with the border cops, and I was staying in his apartment. He made it clear I couldn’t stay long, as he couldn’t afford to feed me. It was clear that he wanted me to feel grateful for his help, and he told me to go ahead and make myself breakfast while he went off to work. I had very little money at that point, having lost $50, half of all the money I’d had a few days earlier, and I was feeling a bit desperate.

When he came home later, it seemed clear from a number of things he said, that, if I were to be open to sex, he could possibly put me up longer. That was consistant with his previous attempts, and I figured I should consider that. However, the sight of him naked didn’t excite me, in fact, I was totally flaccid, and couldn’t get it up anyway. That seemed to settle the issue for him. Somehow, people always seem to assume one can get into something they have no interest in, if only they try. It often doesn’t work for heterosexual relationships; so there wasn’t any reason to expect it would work for a homosexual relationship either, except that young men seem to always be ready for sex at any time.

I really do think that there has to be some physical attraction, and some hormonal signaling, for this whole sexual attraction thing to work. I don’t think one should ever have sex with someone one is not attracted to. Random sex with strangers is just not a good idea, in my opinion.

So, that is what I told the couple. The woman still wanted to have sex with me, and, as had happened before, the man said he would just watch. I had turned down that offer as a young man, but I was very much interested in this woman, so I was considering it when I woke up.

Ah well, it would have been a much more interesting dream, I think.

Once, while I was young, tanned and muscular, I met a couple who invited me to their home for a party, and since I didn’t have a car, they drove me there. However, there was no party, except for the three of us, and the man had made that offer: I could have sex with his wife, if he could watch. It was the first I’d ever heard of such a thing. I considered it for a nanosecond, but at 25 years of age, I turned them down. I felt vulnerable, and a bit worried about what would happen. Rape came to mind. Being bound and tortured came to mind. But, most of all, I knew damn well I couldn’t have enjoyed myself with the woman with anyone else watching, much less her husband.

Once I told them I wasn’t interested, we had a few drinks, talked some, and slept, since it was very late at night. I slept on the couch and they didn’t bother me. In the morning they drove me back to where I lived. I never heard from them again, but it was fascinating to learn that there where people who did such things.

I don’t know why all this bubbled out of memory last night.

Perhaps I was curious about what my stepdaughter was up to. She had texted me to pick her up from work, but hadn’t said where she was going, Her evening class was over, and I thought she might want to have me take her food shopping, since she doesn’t drive. However, she had wanted me to take her to a certain bar, a favorite of hers, one not far from where I live. I was going to be running with my running group, and would have to turn around as soon as I dropped her off, and go right back to near where I’d picked her up. I remarked on that, since I thought it was kind of funny. She was apologetic, as she thought it would be easy for me, since I’d be so close to my home.

I asked her if she was meeeting someone, and she said, “Yes.” I asked her if she was having dinner or just drinks. She said, “Dinner.” And she said, “Bye, See you next time.” I was curious who she was meeting, but she didn’t seem to want to say, or give me any information; I was curious why.

I love that woman a lot. She inspired me to run. She runs a lot, always has, except during her cancer treatment. It took a lot of work on her part to get back into running, but she runs marathons these days. I ran a half-marathon last year for the first time ever, four months after my heart attack, and will run one this year. She will run a full marathon at the same time, probably in little more time as it takes me to do a half.

When I got back from my run last night, I thought about stopping into the bar where she was, but I know she likes her privacy. I remember thinking that I’d have joined her if she’d asked, but three can be a crowd, and anyway, we don’t hang out much anymore.

So, perhaps that is why that threesome idea permeated my dreams. It’s not that either of us would ever comtemplate such a thing as the stuff of my dreams, but I was lonely, and I’d have enjoyed some dinner company. Boy, do I have to be careful that she never knows I even connected her vaguely with the kind of things I dream about. She’d be horrified. I’d hate that. When I say I love this woman, I mean it. I love her with all my heart, and always want her to have a great life. I’d love her even if I never saw her again, but I hope that doesn’t happen.

Some day, she’ll be married, with a kid perhaps. Maybe we’ll drift further apart. I used to drive her to and from work, but she doesn’t need me for that anymore, just an occasional lift here and there. I’m divorced from her mother these last seven years, and her mother avoids me like I have bubonic plague. No communication or reapproachment with that one. She’d kill me if she believed I had any designs on her daughter. Hell, my stepdaughter would quickly terminate all ties with me too, if she thought I’d ever thought of such things, even in a vague association with a dream.

I don’t know why I even brought it up. It is nice to have someone to love like her, even in a non-sexual, platonic way. In fact, I’d find life a whole lot less tolerable without her. It’s bad enough my cat got eaten by coyotes. “Situations tolerable” the Traveling Wilburys sang, and really, my life could be worse, but it could be better.

Posted in 1960s, Dreams, Life, love, madness, My Life, rambling, Random Thoughts, relationships, sex | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Picklement

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 16, 2010

The boy’s nickname was Terry. He didn’t particularly like his name, because a lot of girls had the same one, and it sounded like a child’s name anyway.  He’d started out with Terrance, but in 1st grade the other boys called him Clarence instead.  It always got a laugh, but not from Terry.  It sounded like the name of a clown, or some snooty rich kid in a story.
After grade school, he changed his name to Bob, although Bob didn’t have much of a ring to it.  Still, it seemed a nice unambiguously masculine name, and much more adult sounding than Terry, or Terrance.
Bob, as a name, worked fairly well for Terry.  People didn’t stumble all over it, like they did with Terry, confusing his name with Gerry,  Perry, Harry, but most often, oddly enough, with Larry.  He wondered if it had to do with Larry, Moe and Curly,  since the most common misunderstanding of his name was always Larry.  He tried emphasizing the T whenever he said Terry, but it didn’t help.  People just don’t get Terry usually until the third try.  It made introductions tedious, even though people always smiled, and often apologized.
Terry went by Bob all through high school.  He liked it.  People seemed to respond better.  He was older than he’d been of course, but high school boys are not generally known for their maturity, and Terry, or even Terrance could still have been disastrous.  If there was one thing Terry hated more than anything else, it was being teased.  Still, boys will use just about anything to tease another boy.  The school insisted that everyone wear ties.
Terry had a hard time waking up in the mornings, and taking the time to tie a perfect Windsor knot every day had gotten old fast.  Terry discovered the clip-on tie: perfect knot, perfect length, and impossible to discern.  Somehow, one day, a classmate noticed, and snatched it from him.   He chased after the perp, grabbing the tie and pushing the perp onto the ground.  Generally, Terry had always been very easy-going.  His father often said Terry would let someone take the shirt off his back, but that was what “turning the other cheek” meant in the real world.  In the religious world, “turning the other cheek” meant martyrdom, and martyrdom was preferred to violence.  However, just ignoring all the  jibes and taunts was not easy, and that one time, Terry ran his attacker down and won his self-respect. Or so he thought.
Instead of congratulating him on standing up for himself, his other classmates made light of it, pointing out that the other boy, although the same age, was shorter.  This made Terry into little more than a cowardly bully.  “But, what was I to do?” he asked, “let him take it?”  No one answered that.  Whining was not allowed.  However, this incident provided the catalyst for another far more embarrassing one, since the real bullies felt Terry was an easy mark, and could only defend himself against smaller adversaries.
Terry’s family didn’t have a lot of money, and clothes were patched, sewn and worn until they fell apart.  It so happened one day, as Terry bent over to pick up a fork he dropped in the school cafeteria, that his pants split.  He was mortified, but no one had seemed to notice.  The pants were brown corduroys, with lots of vertical lines, and baggy enough that Terry thought it would pass unnoticed if he walked slowly and kept his butt cheeks pinched together.  He sat down opposite his peers, and relaxed.  He made it through lunch without a single comment.  In fact, he relaxed too much, because as he stood, the gap widened enough for someone to see.  Ellis, agent provocateur, class clown, and always an outlaw, took it upon himself to take full advantage of the situation.  He grabbed a slice of pickle off his lunch tray  and ran up to Terry, dropping the pickle in the rip as Terry stood up.  The indignity of this was just too much.
That someone would see the tear no longer mattered.  Ellis was going down.  Terry lunged for him, and Ellis, cowardly as most bullies are, took off running.  Ellis laughed at Terry,  sidestepping and ducking through the cafeteria.  Terry chased him into the hallway.  Lunch break was not yet over, so there was no one in the hallway.  Terry chased him, gaining on him, running full tilt down the hallway.  Of course, yelling and running past the principal’s office, in a school  that prided itself on self-discipline, was not a particularly bright thing to do.  They were caught.
Now, Terry was in the equally uncomfortable position of trying to explain that someone had put a pickle in his pants.  Fortunately, it had been the principal who’d caught them.  The vice-principal was in charge of discipline, and he would have come down hard on them.  As it was, the principal referred Terry to Student Court, a disciplinary board wholly run by the students.
Terry explained the pickle incident, (picklement?) and the court, laughing behind their hands, let it go.  To add to Terry’s shame, all decisions by the Student Court were published in the school paper, although the rip in someone’s pants became a rip in someone’s shirt.  In 1965, no newspaper would dare even allude to something sexual , much less the innuendo of a pickle in someone’s pants.  It wasn’t journalistic integrity, but everyone knew the real story anyway.
Terry could see, by now, that the name didn’t make any difference.  He was kind of an oddball, it seemed, and names were nowhere near as important as he’d always believed.  After high school, he kept using Bob, although his employer and coworkers were not the types to care about a name one way or the other.   By now, however, Terry noticed that Bob was an extremely common name.  In every room, it seemed, there was a Bob. In a restaurant, in a garage, on the street, or at work, Bob was as ubiquitous as Tom, Dick and Harry.  Terry, realizing that, as an adult, he could have his name changed legally, thought about changing his name to Bilbo Baggins.  It was not a bad name, far out of the ordinary.  That would have been alright, but he knew his family wouldn’t like his dropping the surname. But, what would Bilbo be without a Baggins to go with it?  He thought about just using Frodo,  but few people had read the half a million word sequel to The Hobbit, so he would have had to spend a lot of time explaining the Lord of the Rings character to every person he met.
Of course, changing one’s name is a very superfluous thing to do anyway, as Terry had found out.  And now there were far more important things to worry about in the world, like sex and war, and getting to work on time.  He took night classes at the University where he worked, but he really wanted to go to school full time.  He applied for, and was accepted at another University a few years later, still calling himself Bob.  He kept his job on a part-time basis, as a sort of contract employee.  However, those aforementioned things, sex and war, took over most of his thoughts, as he sought one but wanted to avoid the other.  That took him to rallies and demonstrations, as well as into drug and sexual experimentation, and his studies suffered.  His thoughts were always elsewhere.  Dismissed from school on probation for a year, he decided to travel.
After a few years of odd jobs and traveling, he took a job one day in a small foundry in Arizona.  The foreman must also have thought Terry an oddball when he asked him his name, because  Terry paused.  It was a normal question, but suddenly, and without having given it any thought in years, he told the foreman his name: Terry.  It was, after all, how his family had known and still knew him.  No one he had ever met was as important as family, and he never changed his name again, even though he rarely got through another introduction without having to say his name at least three times.

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