Saturday, November 17, 2007

heavily medicated for your protection: UPDATED

update: hey horndogs, there's a new one up at UJ. bear hunters take note!

I've been taking a hefty dose of Prozac for around 13 or so years now, and I'm glad to say that it still works like a charm. The side effects were mild and fleeting in my case. In any event the positive effects so far outweighed anything threatened that I would have gladly put up with duodenal bleeding, rashes, fainting spells or an accordion growing out of my butt. Clinical depression is no goddamn picnic, my darlings.

One of the side effects of Prozac is supposed to be exceptionally vivid and unusual dreams. And it's true as far as that goes; if you take it late in the day, you're going to have dreams that you'll REALLY REMEMBER the next morning. It's as though the sound, brightness and focus get cranked on full bore. But as far as unusual content goes?
I would not know.
No, I would most definitely would not.

I remember dreams I had back when I was barely able to walk. They were about things like hydrangea shrubs that could talk, covered in broken Christmas lights. A moon so big it filled up half the sky. Knowing the secret language of all trees. Huge water towers that walked around at night but turned out to be friendly. Owning shoes that made flaming footprints.

So yes, all the other little kids used to struggle with their creative writing assignments; meanwhile I was kicked back in my seat with a smoking piece of paper already in the teachers 'in' basket, blowing the flames off my pencil. Honey, give me a challenge.
Art class? They wanted an incense burner made out of clay? I gave them an unnecessarily detailed obese pig with cleverly designed outlet ports; so that when a smouldering cone of incense was introduced into its back passage the smoke curled out of its ears, its mouth, nose and the corners of it's eyes.
Would you like us to draw a picture based on our studies of the ancient Aztecs, Mr. Sherholtz?
No, you wouldn't. No really Mr. Sherholtz you wouldn't. OK fine Mr. Sherholtz then I need to get a pass to go down to the library and consult their copy of Grey's Anatomy because it's the one with the color transparencies. How do you expect me to draw a convincing portrayal of a human chest cavity that's been hewn open with an obsidian knife unless you give me a pass to go to the library Mr. Sherholtz? *

Yesterday I made the mistake of skipping my meds.

And yet this is what I dreamed last night:

A lovely British family has invited me to visit their home on the river Test and to stay as their guest. (One of you, as a matter of fact.)

They live in a wonderful old brick Victorian era building; a ferry terminal standing right at the very edge of the water, filled with lovely things and beautifully decorated. In fact, it is still in use as a ferry terminal. Every hour the family suspend all their activities and retreat to an iron balcony while large steam ferries draw up alongside and the passengers disembark through the living room. Meanwhile, out on the Amazonian-sized river Test sailing ships under full sheets move past the windows.

Their grandfather is John Cleese, who sleeps a lot. He is immensely fat and balding, covered in liver spots. He is attended by a very nice little boy of about 10 years, chubby and red haired, who sings like an angel. He supports the family by delivering singing telegrams.

These very nice people decide to take me to visit their aunt, and to show me the sights. We all embark on this trip in ultralight aircraft and sail above the chimneys and cathedral spires of medieval Paris (Which is what modern London apparently looks like from above; stay with me here) admiring the view and chatting about the buildings we see.

As we approach the aunts house it becomes apparent that she lives inside a bombed-out catholic church that was abandoned during the Second World War, the church of the Blessed Virgin.
We sail around the cornices admiring the old painted advertising signs (Hudson, Signal Gasoline, Bull Durham Tobacco) flaking away on the sides of the building and the various medallions and details depicting scenes from the Virgin Mary's life. As we spiral downward we pass a strange vignette that I don't recall from catechism; The Virgin Mary crouched inside a small room peering out through a pair of high-powered binoculars. "Hm, " I think. "That's odd."

Yes for the first time.

The nave and transepts and part of the sacristy have been patched with brick and steel brace and remade as a private residence; meanwhile pigeons sail through the openings high above where stained glass windows used to be and piles of pews lay in stacks against the walls.

The aunt bustles about and greets us, trailed by a large elderly Labrador retriever. We sit on the sofa next to the communion rail and admire the altarpiece which is still in place behind a gated surround.

This Tiajuanan vignette depicts the Virgin Mary in a heroic stance, a pair of military issue field binoculars raised halfway to her face as she gazes off into the distance with an alert and noble expression. Nearby is an azimuth table, or whatever you call those range finder table thingies used in field operations and fire towers. The whole area is full of old rat droppings and broken wood and stone; everything covered in plaster dust , pigeon crap and old, old dirt.

Marylin Manson is one of the guests. I sit on his lap and we chat. He turns out to be a very nice guy. Rather on the slight side too. Long black cat claws extend from his fingertips. Because I am seated on his lap I am able to note that his eyes really are like that. So is his skin, because he really is dead, although he seems to be in a friendly mood despite that.

Eventually I get up to go see if the lady of the house needs any help. I want to make a nice impression as a guest in this country, after all.

Back in the sacristy is a kitchen and a small dining area with an early 60's Magnavox stereo credenza off to one side. The large Labrador retriever comes wagging out to greet me and I scratch it's head. Another animal waddles out to meet me too. At first I assume this is a massively warty white standard poodle. Its back and face are covered with strange irregular masses that hang in wattles or form wobbly mountain ranges on it's back and sides, all of it covered by a thin coat of white curly....something. It doesn't feel exactly like fur.

As I scratch its head it opens its mouth to bark, but instead a strange yawping sound emerges. Something is wrong with this animals face, I note. The mouth and the head are really short and round and there aren't any teeth.
"What kind of dog is this?" I ask.
"Oh, that's a turkey," says the aunt.

This doesn't bother me nearly as much as it should.

I continue scratching its head and it makes the yawping sound a couple more times. Long yellowed masses of warty flesh hang down on either side of its face like uneven beagle ears, or flat sweet potatoes, covered with what I now realize are downy, curly pinfeathers. "Huh. I would have never thought it was a turkey," I say.
"Well, that's what they look like when they get really old", says the woman. "I've probably kept it too long, but I'm so used to it now, you know."

And then I wake up.

Have a nice day.


*He gave in finally. Mrs. Merrin called him on the intercom when she saw what I was drawing.


  1. Well what a rich iner life you have , but we all knew that anyway as the rich texture comes out in your writing :-)

    The turkey and grandpa Cleese sounds wonderful, and the human traffic from a few ferry's might explain the state of my kitchen floor :-)

  2. no wonder you're such a good writer FN.

    I'm no stranger to clinical depression so can relate to your love of drugs. I don't get very interesting dreams though. sigh.

  3. The aunt's home sounds almost exactly like mine. Uncanny. Unfortunately, the turkey died last year but we've had it stuffed and it's on display above the altarpiece. I hope it's not some kind of act of sacrilege.

  4. Either you have the most amazing dream recall or you were very inventive filling in the blanks.
    Loved it.

  5. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Holey moses - you are as nutty as a fruit cake !! Tee hee - where the heel is the River test?

  6. witchy, it's amazing dream recall. We're (my ma and myself) cursed with it and usually amused by it. That includes lots of involuntary lucidity in dreams, kind of disconcerting when you wake up and aren't sure what has really happened and what was your brain running amok.

  7. you're pretty far out....(something they said in the old days)

  8. beast: its an interesting place, my brain. i figure if you charged an upkeep surtax you could hire Ronnie Corbett to dress up like Marlene Deitrich and scrub it on his hands and knees with a hedgehog.

    kyah:KYAH!!!!!! where you been!? KYAHGIRL IS HERE YAAAAAAAY! X!

    betty:I think thats very nice. it seemed like a very loyal turkey.
    God help me. god help you too, come to think of it. and watch the arm, lady!

    witchypoo: well hello there, if I havent greeted you before this! no, sad to say this is pretty typical for me. and if you have trouble believing that, then you're really going to have trouble believing I had to tone it down and omit stuff. yeah.

    muttley: Mr. the Dog, are you just now coming to this realization? have you looked outside your window lately and waved to the jolly jack tars going by in their galleons? good gravy marie man it was a dream!!

    SSA: you poor kid; I am so sorry. remember the one I had about the graham cracker babies that were enslaved by the catholic teddy bears and forced to mine coal on sunday?

    marky: and groovy in a HAPPENIN' way. I am.

  9. Your lucky, I hardly have interesting dreams, so I never remember them.

  10. Even if John Cleese was immensely fat and balding and covered in liver spots in real life, you'd still do him.

  11. and all i dreamed last night was the rain kept hitting my face and i looked over at slemish (which is near where i am staying) and told the other person in my dream...that is what monet saw when he painted...and it looked like a monet painting (he is one of my favorites)...kind of a boring dream action...but relaxing...

  12. That's definitely what I would call a normal dream. I'm intrigued to know what improvement there is with Prozac. (Scurries off to look up details to learn to fake clinical depression).

  13. I really needed that story tonight...I'm feeling really down right now. Thank you.

  14. Ever dream yer shagging a bloodied corpse then you wake up covered in blood? er me neither.

  15. gale: aha, you say that, but my husband says the same thing and he gets up and walks around the house at night. it could be that they're so interesting that you get wore out and have to sleep. huh? huh?

    mj: well duh; that went without saying. and if he's already asleep...see above.

    daisy: well there ya go. relaxing is what you want in a dream. whats it like?

    sopwith: with prozac, taken just before bed, you get dreams that are almost indistinguishable from reality. not in content but in the clarity of perception. you really DO NOT want that.

    calle: well, you're welcome! and you can keep the turkey, too!

    knudie: you take a LOT of prozac right before bed, don't you knudie.

  16. John Cleese doesn't boff chicks with accordions growing out of their butts. That's why he got divorced from Connie Booth.

  17. Footman: But FN's got a squeezebox she wears on her chest. And when Daddy comes home, he never gets no rest
    'Cause she's playing all night and the music's all right
    Mama's got a squeeze box, Daddy never sleeps at night

  18. actually FN it was quite relaxing and pleasurable...i woke up very refreshed and yearning to paint...

  19. actually FN it was quite relaxing and pleasurable...i woke up very refreshed and yearning to paint...

  20. oh yeah, sleep eating....hmmmmm. You know me to well!!!!

  21. Πιστεύομεν εἰς ἕνα κύριον
    (In the name of the nave,)
    τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ,
    (of the transepts,)
    θεὸν εκ θεοῦ ἀληθινου,
    (and part of the sacristy,)
    θεὸν εκ θεοῦ ἀληθινου,
    (I now pronouce you)
    οὐ ποιηθέντα,
    (Saint Hallucinatalia.)

    Don't ya jes' love it
    Don't you jes' love it
    Don't ya jes' love it

  22. I need prozac.

    Yes. Really.

  23. If you had an accordian growing out of your butt.......what tune would you play when your walking up stairs????.

  24. "you really DO NOT want that."

    I do, I do! I live for lucid dreams.

    That sounds like the title of a sixties song, 'My Lucy Dreams'.

    Cheese just doesn't seem to work anymore.

  25. I like not dreaming.

    I watch too much TV anyway.

  26. Yep. Me too. Nuf said.

  27. One of the benefits of having accordion growing out of your butt would be the playing of music every time you sat down or stood up. That would make an interesting counterpoint.
    Good thing it wasn't a trumpet or harmonica, then people would know when you ate beans.

  28. It was me and Pirate and Murph, wasn't it? I so know it was.

    I had a wierd dream the other night, but having read this I've forgotten what it was about. Damn.

  29. I got to the "Lady of the house" bit then realised it wasn't about me so I didn't read anymore.

  30. So which of your British readers' homes did you visit?

    Maybe they DO have an aunt that lives in a church with a turkey and Marilyn Manson.

    You never know.

  31. Anonymous6:59 AM

    you are very talented. but i want to know is who was the british family? beast? frobo? mutley? madonna? who?

  32. Footman: he divorced connie because I desired that this be so, actually.

    mj: now that's just silly. i had it removed years ago. I gave it to Weird Al Yankovic.

    daisy: i woke up wanting a turkey sandwich.

    gale: oh yeah. at least you were eating low-fat whipped topping!

    homoE: Can I have one of those statues where it's all standing on a snake and poking a stick through a dragon and on fire with arrows sticking out of it? because, yeah.
    and wings. and an overdressed baby. yeah.

    awaiting: well then get some! the way they prescribe the shit nowadays you can go stand outside with a tupperware and catch it as it falls from the sky.

    beast: the flight of the bumblebee.
    get it? BUM blebee? oh how we laugh here at rancho firstnations...

    sopwith: see awaitings answer above. put some pans and bowls out on the lawn overnight.

    rimshot: coward.

    joeVegas: see, I always wondered why the musical score of my life sounded like klezmer...

    cb: guys would have scared the turkey away. although the virgin mother wouldnt have needed binocs to see something, huh.

    ziggi: nope, wasn't you. horses are much to symbolically charged an image for my brain to deal with, I'm afraid (everyone collapses on the floor laughing derisively)

    claire: beast. and he does. and they do.

    pink: beast. him and frobi make mr. C dress up like a turkey. you didn't know that?