I don't usually remember dreams, and when I do, they seldom have punch lines. Last night I had a dream which managed to interlace folksinger Bob Dylan, martial arts actor and filmmaker Steven Seagal, and the song made famous by Groucho Marx, "Lydia the Tattooed Lady". Not only did it manage to include all these elements, but it had a plot, and even a humorous ending of sorts. Here's the dream.
I was in some sort of performance space, with the stage not much higher than audience level. Bob Dylan and I were conducting a sing-along for a few people gathered around us in folding auditorium chairs, twenty or thirty feet away from the stage. Dylan abruptly turned to me and said, "You could use some voice lessons. Not only that, you're ugly!"
I ignored him and noticed that sound equipment had been set up on the staging area. An old neighborhood activist friend of mine was onstage doing a run-through of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" as the audience took its seats. He saw me and motioned me over, shouting "Larry. Let's do it as a duet."
I took my place in front of a mike, and the audience began murmuring angrily, and broke into a chant of "STEVEN SEAGAL!!! STEVEN SEAGAL, STEVEN SEAGAL!!! ..."
I decided I'd better defuse the situation before an assembly of enraged Steven Seagal fans stormed the stage. I took a grocery list from my back pocket and said to the audience, "Friends, Friends, I have a message here from Steven Seagal. It reads: To my devoted fans. I'm sorry I'm not able to be with you today, but the Royal Shakespeare Company has asked me to play Hamlet, so I'm out of the country for a few months. In my place, I've arranged for an evening of Groucho Marx songs. I hope to see you all soon. Your friend, Steven Seagal."
We then proceeded to sing, and the dream ended.
I'm not going to pretend this had any real meaning, but it made me wish I could remember more of my dreams. The late Eugene Ionesco, the best known playwright of the movement known as Theatre of the Absurd, must have a job in the afterlife scripting my dreams.