It was a dream that always ended as soon as it began. It started out as a whirly, whipping sensation, spinning me outward and downward. I’d sense something was wrong and would force myself to wake up. Then I’d realize all was well. That it was just a dream. And I’d try with difficulty to fall back asleep again.
The antinomy of sensing something to be wrong when all was quite well, annoyed me. I became determined to stop waking myself up when this nocturnal gyre struck my dreams. I wanted to plunge down the rabbit hole. I wanted to whirl and whip outward and downward as far as REM would take me, before my psychopomp decided on its own to return me to the wakeful state.
I wanted to see what was drawing me to the netherworld.
It took months of difficult trial and effort before I finally succeeded. Every night I concentrated very hard before falling asleep, on the idea of remembering to go with this odd spinning sensation, as soon as it manifested in my dreams.
One night I finally did remember. And when it happened I relaxed. I told myself it was only a dream, and everything was all right. I then allowed my spirit to be carried away like a leaf in the vortex of a wild tornado.
I lost track of time. But after a few seconds to an eternity of whirling about, the tornado dissipated and I alighted on solid, stable ground. A nebulous figure sort of stood or hovered before me. It glowed like a lightning storm, and rumbled with the bassist of voices. “Welcome. I’ve been waiting a long time for your arrival,” it proclaimed.
“What is this place, and what do you want with me?” I asked timorously.
“It’s the sacred realm of the Tucumcari Mazurka, and you have been summoned for consecration as a great prophet,” came the rumbling response.
It continued. I sensed that it wished to waste no time, even though at the same time, time seemed irrelevant. But a man can only sleep for so long before his peregrination through dreamland must end.
“I will teach you the meaning of life. Then you must wander the four quarters of the globe, and disperse this teaching to all peoples of the earth. Or you can just blog about it.”
I smelled bacon. My wife was cooking breakfast, and the penetrating aroma put me in peril of immediate awakening. There was no time to waste. “Tell me now. Quickly!” I urged the theophany.
“The meaning of life is to be happy,” it stated with conclusive gravitas.
“Bull fucking shit!” I hollered. “You mean you summoned me all the way over here to tell me that? Why, every dickhead on earth who purports to teach enlightenment says the same damn thing. Give me something original. Something imaginative and illustrious. Something that will capture the attention of every soul who lends an ear to my preachments!”
It hovered motionless, while seeming to scratch its head. Finally it let out a great, booming sigh. “I’ve got nothing,” it admitted. “This meaning of life shit is really quite boring. It only goes as deep as the abstract. You can’t place a sure finger on it. So it’s hard to keep people interested. The best you can do is scare the hell out of folks, then promise them salvation if they’ll only listen to you and do what you say. But even that is tricky and unreliable.”
“So why should I be your prophet?” I asked.
“Well, how about this? There’s profit in being a prophet. You know, from donations, book sales, television appearances, and so forth. When you scare the shit out of people, you can really bring home the bacon.”
And that’s when it hit me. The bacon, I mean. The scent grabbed my olfactory nerves and jostled away my attention. The ethereal scene before me faded, and I opened my eyes.
No more dreaming. It was time for something real. It was time for bacon.
And that’s when I fully awakened to the true meaning of life.
The meaning of life is bacon.