It’s been my experience that dreams can be weird. Maybe that’s understatement, I don’t know.
I remember once when sleeping peacefully I dreamed I was paddling a canoe. It was a pastoral scene. A blue stream. Steep river banks covered with tall grass and a full, green canopy of tree leaves reaching to a lighter blue sky dotted with puffy clouds. Sunshine on my face.
I paddle along, basking in the sublime moment (in my dream), when God’s voice speaks to me from the sky.
“Dad,” God said. “Dad.”
“That is strange,” my dreaming brain thinks. “Why is God calling me Dad?”
I didn’t have time to ponder the ramifications of such an idea because I woke up, and there at the foot of my bed stood my son, Curtis. “Dad,” he repeated.
“You’re not God,” I observed, my dreaming world bumping head-on with reality, “but I do love you.” Having become generally accustomed to my several eccentricities, he took my comment in stride.
I had another strange dream recently that I’d like to tell you about, but first some quick backstory.
I am getting old and my brain is slowing down. I know this, and so I sometimes purposefully push my memory or do puzzles and solve math problems in my head (7 percent tax, 15 percent tip, etc.) I memorized the first two stanzas of the classic poem “She Walks in Beauty” just because I think it is a wonderful poem and to see if I could.
On the night of this strange dream, I gave myself a mental challenge before falling asleep. I tried to recall the names of the main characters from the TV sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” I watch the show irregularly, but I like it and often find myself laughing out loud (lol!) at the show’s inspired writing and its cast’s crazy antics.
As I was about to fall asleep, I realized I’d remembered all the names but one. It was upsetting. And the most frustrating thing was that it was the star of the show whose stage name I couldn’t remember. He’s the tall, gorky genius whose worldview centers around himself and his eidetic brain.
I just couldn’t remember his name. My mind was blank. Which was good, I guess, because I fell asleep.
While I slept, I dreamed. I dreamed I worked for NPPD. I dreamed I’d had an “accident” (Oh, no! Safety first.) and had some type of brain damage. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of NPPD’s southern-most power plant. Nor could I remember the name of the power plant south of Lincoln.
It was so frustrating. My NPPD teammates tried to help me. “Remember, you used to work there!” one said. “I know, but that was before I was damaged,” I noted. “The power plant near Lincoln is going hydrogenic,” someone else said (making up a word). “Monolith,” I said, remembering THAT name.
Then I woke, and in the light of a new morning the connection was clear. NPPD’s southern-most power plant? Cooper Nuclear Station. The coal-fired generator near Lincoln? Sheldon Station.
Cooper. Sheldon. Sheldon Cooper? Sheldon Cooper! That’s the name I couldn’t remember when I fell asleep. Sheldon Cooper, the socially inept genius.
And as everyone who watches Big Bang with any regularity knows, Penny – another main star of the show – hails (in her TV persona) from Nebraska. She and Leonard watch Husker football games and there are lots of Nebraska jokes. Which prompts me to take a gigantic leap of logic: is Sheldon Cooper named after two power plants owned and operated by NPPD? Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?
Can it be just a coincidence? Or just a dream. Will we ever know? As William Shakespeare said about the mystery of dreams: Aye, there’s the rub.