After the world’s doctors and scientists find a cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, I’d like for them to get started on that microchip you can have embedded in your brain that will allow you to pick your own dreams.
Sure there would be a waiting list, as there is for other cool things like space travel and Steeler season tickets, but it’s worth the wait.
And sure it would be expensive like “civilian” space travel, available only to those who can furnish their own rocketship, but if I raid the 401(k), the 403(b), the 529s and the WD40, I can piece together enough for a low-model DreamCaster 6000.
My wobbly, geeky knees knock together 30 inches from Markie Post’s beautifully calm knees. The great Dick Clark — an intelligible Dick Clark — leans in behind me, hand on my left shoulder, soothing my electric nerves. Dick Clark, old enough to be your dad, cool enough to be your best friend’s dad, offers advice.
“Establish a rapport, don’t get held up on one category… if you do, pass it and come back, stay calm, make eye contact…”
No worries on making eye contact with Markie Post.
“Take a deep breath…and remember, no hand movements…”
Hand movements won’t be an issue either, since we’re strapped in tighter than the joyriding civilians in outer space. I realize I have forgotten to wear a shirt.
“For one hundred thousand million dollars, here is your first subject. GO!”
Markie: “Blu-Ray, Bluetooth…”
A Paralyzed Me: “Things that are blue?”
“BlackBerry, Blu-Ray, Bluetooth…”
“The Vietnamese language option on the local ATM…”
“Things I’ll never use but should try once for fun?”
Correct! Applause. $50
Markie: “‘Well, I’m a princess and…'”
Me: “Things my daughter says.”
“…And I like to hang out with the seven dwarfs.”
“What Cinderella would say…”
“…and I hang out WITH THE SEVEN DWARFS.”
“Things Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs would say.”
Correct, but awkward. Tepid applause. $100
Markie: “Because your house is on fire. Because your house is on fire….because your wife is cooking…”
“Why the smoke alarm is going off again.”
Correct! Applause. $150
Markie: “Waterboarding, sleep deprivation…”
Me: “Things girls do to the first to fall asleep at a slumber party…”
Markie (nodding persistently but patiently): “Waterboarding, electroshock, Glee, that ‘Friday’ song”
“Forms of torture.”
Correct! Applause. $200
Markie: “A hammer, a screwdriver, the guy who talks on the hands-free devise even though his free hands aren’t doing anything, the guy who rides in the all-dark-tinted car because he’s ‘ballin’, a wrench…”
Me: “Common tools.”
Correct! Applause. $250
It dawns on me that we could do this. Not only would I win the hundred billion dollars, but I’d get to have one of those explosive, burst-out-of your-chair hugs that they show at the beginning of every episode. With Markie Post! One category away. The counting seconds sound more and more like the music from Psycho. Is Dick Clark going to stab me from behind? Where are my pants?
Markie (in a shaky voice): “Uhhh… death notices, birth notices, political opinions…”
Me: “Things in a newspaper…”
Markie: (shaking her head) “Death notices, prayer requests…”
Me: “Things in the church bulletin?”
Markie: (still shaking her head) “Uhhh…
Me: ‘Things on the 700…”
I’m so frustrated. I was “this” close to bear-hugging Markie Post. (And it was a dream anyway, one that I hand-picked with my overpriced DreamCaster…the piece of crap.) I drag into the bathroom, where from behind the shower curtain, Dick Clark emerges and asks, “What if I said, ‘Mundane things nobody else truly cares about?’”
I sigh, half-smile, and roll my eyes knowingly and guiltily….”Things you post on Facebook.” Dick Clark always had the best clues after the fact.
I check to make sure Markie Post is not hiding under my bed so I could at least share with her the weak, upside-down, consolation handshake and thank her for getting me to the Winners’ circle. (She is not.)
As I turn back around, Dick Clark is totaling up my winnings on the wall…”Let’s see…250, 450, 6, 7, 750 dollars.” I thank him. He salutes me.
“For now, this is Dick Clark. So long.”
He leaves through the bathroom window, handing me my shirt and pants. Dick Clark, one of a kind.
Meanwhile I’m getting my DreamCaster surgically removed. I can’t be trusted with my dreams.