Friday, December 08, 2017

COLUMN: Shakespeare Theme Park

I seldom remember my dreams. When I do, it's usually just me being chased by Something Really Bad. Sometimes I'm joined by others. A couple weeks ago, I was being chased alongside my old college roommate, my aunt from Alabama, a cashier from the Walgreens I frequent, and Partridge Family-era Susan Dey.

But rare is the morning when I wake up and remember an entire dream. Based on the one I just woke up from, forgetting them is probably for the best.

Here's how it went down: In my dream, I was on vacation from work. But in a dream that felt a little TOO real, I was spending this vacation bored at home, randomly scrolling through Facebook. Yep, I dreamed about Facebook, because THAT'S how awesome my life is.

And on dream Facebook, I see a post from my quite-real friend Catie. But "friend" might be a stretch. Although Catie is real, I barely know her. I've met her in real life precisely ONCE, and in the decade that we've been pals on Facebook, I can count on one hand the number of online interactions we've ever had. Yet apparently she matters enough to take a supporting role in my dream, where she just posted to Facebook about her new job -- at the recently-opened Shakespeare theme park in Michigan that everyone's talking about. Except that it doesn't exist, because I just quite literally dreamed it up.

So Dream Shane decides to drive to Michigan to spend my vacation at this theme park. Once there, I find Catie, who is happily employed in the park's geology museum, because that's certainly something you'd expect to find at a Shakespearean theme park. After all, how can one fully appreciate the subtextual nuances of King Lear without first having a basic appreciation for earth science?

So there I was, surrounded by display cases full of rocks, and Catie's job was to write little descriptions about each rock. After exchanging pleasantries, she advises me to check out the theme park's gift shop. I browse the gift shop and stumble upon a rack of CDs. Suddenly, I spot a CD from my favorite band that (gasp) somehow I don't already own. Excitedly, I race to the counter to buy it, only to be told that the CD isn't for sale, but is instead part of the theme park's library and cannot leave the premises.

Well that simply wouldn't do, so Dream Me made immediate plans to steal the CD. Thankfully, Dream Catie is down with helping Dream Me commit a dream felony, which we accomplish by dressing up as mummies and sneaking into the gift shop unnoticed. Brilliant, am I right? Like I always say, if you're looking to go incognito, there's no better way to go unnoticed than dressing up like a mummy.

So we sneak in and freeze in mummy position until nightfall and the shop closes. Then we spring into action and start looking for the CD. Happening upon a bin of human skulls (best gift shop EVER!), I pull one out and give a ham-handed performance of Hamlet's "Alas, poor Yorick" monologue. Suddenly, the lights come on and we are busted! Security and park managers surround us -- but instead of being mad at our thievery, they are instead weeping -- because, as it turns out, I am the greatest actor of my generation, and my moving Hamlet monologue has left them all in tears. Instead of arresting me, the park managers offer me the lead role in their upcoming production.

"No thanks," I tell them, "Hamlet is too depressing. It bums me out."

"No problem," the manager responds. "We'll rewrite it as a comedy just for you." I accept the offer, everyone cheers, Jonah Hill is there for some unknown reason, and then I wake up. The end.

Lovably ridiculous, right? That's what I thought, until I went to the analysis site As it turns out, dreaming about a vacation supposedly indicates a desired break from the routine. Dreaming about Facebook shows your desire for more friends. Shakespeare signifies a literary aptitude. Dreaming of a theme park shows a need for relaxation. Rocks symbolize stubbornness. CDs represent a need for enjoyment. To dream of stealing suggests you're feeling deprived. Dreaming of mummies means you're feeling trapped. Skulls mean danger. Dreaming that you're an actor represents a hidden desire to be recognized and famous.

In other words, I'm a horrible person. Let's recap: I suffer from a constant need to do something different and make new friends. I'm well read, but all I want to do in life is relax. I'm stubborn, feel deprived and trapped, and demand enjoyment. I will endure danger, but only if it helps me become famous and recognized. In other words, it's pretty much spot-on, and I'm a very sad little man.

So I choose to ignore the analysis and stick with lessons learned: If I'm ever in a Shakespearean theme park and need to steal a CD, I will NOT dress up like a mummy to do it. "Hamlet" probably WOULD be better if someone punched it up with a few jokes. And always assume that whenever I try something new, I'll naturally be the best in the world at it. And most importantly? Stop eating Taco Bell right before bed.

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