Analysis of nightmares

By Merv Clutterbuck

Copyright 1991. All rights reserved.
Published here by permission

"Merv, what does it mean?" people ask, still in a sweat from their latest nightmare. They ask me, because it's hard to find anyone with more nightmare experience. True, there are fat books on interpreting dreams, but for some reason they're weak on nightmares. To fill this nightmare gap, I'm going to list some common nightmares and tell you what they really mean.

You'll feel better when you know you aren't the only one troubled by a certain nightmare -- and when you find out exactly what it predicts for your life.

1. I'm at the supermarket check-out counter and the girl rings up a fantastically huge total. I realise I don't have enough money to pay. The manager forces me to leave all my clothes behind as security, and as I'm walking around naked in the parking lot I discover my car has been flattened by a giant ape.

Analysis: it's probably getting close to the end of the financial year, and your accountant reminds you of a giant ape.

2. I have bought an expensive new bed, but when I lie down on it there's a sound like breaking glass. Alarmed, I sit up. There's a roar and a crocodile pokes its head through the mattress. He looks at me with horrible red eyes. Suddenly there's an earthquake, and I find myself chained to the top of a space shuttle. It's rumbling and getting ready to take off. Down below, the crocodile is shaking it. Sharp bolts keep coming out and poking my back. I want my mother.

Analysis: your bed has lumps in it.

3. I flush the toilet and green slime starts pouring out. I try to escape, but the slime is rising and filling the house. The more I struggle, the more the slime holds me back. Exhausted, I am too weak to move and the slime level reaches my nose. I realise I am turning into a duck.

Analysis: you haven't come to terms with the repressed thought that you've always wanted to be a duck.

4. I am in the dentist's waiting room, and I open a copy of Reader's Digest. I am horrified to discover it is full of obscene photos. The dentist and his nurse leer at me and say it is now "my turn." They take me down an escalator and through an iron door. Inside, it's dark. Glowing yellow eyes look at me with lascivious intent. My wrists and ankles are grabbed by hairy paws. I scream and wake up. This is a recurring nightmare.

Analysis: you are guilty about not having regular dental check-ups.

5. I am riding a motorcycle and gangsters are chasing me up a mountain road. A greenish fog begins to swirl around, and I realise it is poisonous. Above, a huge boulder works loose and tumbles toward me. A volcano blows up and boiling sulphur fills the air. To the right, a gigantic tidal wave roars toward me. I try to scratch my back, and realise I have turned into a cockroach. A huge shoe appears above me. I wake up in a sweat.

Analysis: this doesn't seem so bad. Your mistake is to do all these things in one nightmare. If you broke it up into separate, smaller nightmares, you might even enjoy it.

6. The toast is burning and I know that unless I can stop it, the planet will be taken over by an evil force. The toaster is covered with knobs and obscure instructions. I fiddle frantically, my heart beating faster and faster. Smoke pours from the toaster. The clouds coming out get blacker and blacker. Everything I do makes things worse. Soon there's so much smoke I can't even see the toaster. I know I have failed and I collapse, helpless, and feel the evil force taking over.

Analysis: it will be a good year to venture out and experiment with new things.

7. Scientists need my blood for experiments. They are trying to find me, and I am hiding under the bed. Their footsteps come closer and closer. There is an evil chuckle, and someone says, "In here, I bet." I can see feet with hooves. The creatures -- whatever they are -- are dragging coils of rubber tubes. There is a tinkle of glass bottles. Someone sits on the bed, making a big dent. There is a bad smell, like rotting meat. A tentacle comes under the bed and begins to feel around for me.

Analysis: you're right to be scared! Wow! That's what I call a nightmare! Some of the dreams that people tell me aren't so bad, but this one -- whew. It's a worry. This is an example of your brain trying to scare you shitless.

8. A man with a beard and a sense of authority informs me that it's time I knew the truth: I am a character in a cartoon series, and the series has been cancelled. I have only a few more frames to live. I panic and try to see if the edge of the paper is getting closer. It is! The man is right. Three frames to go. Then two! Finally I'm pushed into the last panel. I fight like mad, but they are too strong. I scream.

Analysis: it probably was a bad series you were in. Bye!