I rarely remember my nightmares, and when I do, they’re mostly of the boring, work-related variety. Last night’s was a little different.
In the dream, I had a tank full of various lizards, and I needed to feed them live bugs. That’s not the “nightmare” part, but it’s worth noting that there is almost zero chance of me ever owning a pet that requires live bug lunches. I’m only good at five or six things, and on a list that short, there isn’t room for cricket handling.
So I whip out this container full of bugs, presumably storebought, and as I open the lid to make the sacrificial pour, I was startled: These were weird bugs. Certainly not crickets. They looked like fleshy, four-legged knobs, sort of popcorn-shaped, with spidery features and insane agility.
Immediately, many of them hop to the floor and scatter. Panicking and unable to close the lid (closing lids can be difficult when you’re in the middle of a nightmare and really need to close the fucking lid), I just dump the whole container into my made-up lizard tank, hoping that my made-up lizards will take care of the problem by eating heavily.
But the lizards were disinterested. The bugs effortlessly made their escape, whether by leaping out of the tank or by casually walking up its glass walls. Soon my apartment was absolutely crawling with the things, which is interesting because the container I had them in would’ve barely fit two ounces of kidney beans. It was a total clown car scenario, but with fictional fleshy spiders instead of clowns.
They looked much grosser and more evil than this, but to give you some example, a recreation:
After twirling around in circles and seeing the spiders everywhere, they just seemed to vanish — no doubt to the safety of under our furniture, or in our walls, or wherever it is that bugs go to plan their attack. In the dream, the clear implication was that they were waiting for the right moment to strike. Meanwhile, the lizards just sat there all drowsy and useless. No help at all.
One’s deductive powers aren’t exactly spot-on during dreams, and somehow, I drew the conclusion that the best thing to do was go to sleep. (This is a recurring piece of business in my nightmares. As a child, I’d “escape” them by dropping the ground and going to sleep…in my dream. It’s kinda meta, and I once used this tactic to avoid a lion who was the size of a planet.)
There I was, sleeping on the couch and dreaming about sleeping on the couch, only to be woken up — in my dream, I mean — by pink popcorn spiders who delighted in crawling all over my head and secret parts. Then I woke up for real, unable to separate fantasy from reality. It took five minutes for me to understand that, in the real world, I was not under siege by alien spiders.
It doesn’t sound like much when I relay it, but I really want to remember this dream, and I don’t feel like starting a lame dream diary just to do that. So, you get this.
Oh, I ate popcorn right before bed. This may explain why my nightmare bugs looked they way they did.
Have any weird dreams, lately? Confess in the comments.
…and then there’s this.
In the ’80s, Worlds of Wonder rocked us with all sorts of previously unseen toy technology, evidenced in everything from Lazer Tag to Teddy Ruxpin.
Their company history is one of great sadness, as they actually grew bigger than they could handle, and through no fault of their toys, Worlds of Wonder completely imploded.
Still, you had to admire them, whoever they were, for really taking it to other companies who were miles ahead of them in retail connections and dolla dolla bills. I grew up in a sea of amazing playthings, but nobody knew how to battery-operate a plastic mofo like Worlds of Wonder.
In 1988, they introduced Little Boppers, a risky venture into the uncharted territory of “dolls that dance to music.” The general skippy is that they had all of these great licenses — for Disney characters, for Muppets and for their own creations — and instead of just dumping boring plushies onto the market, they turned ’em into little electronic hyenas that danced around to the beat of whatever was on your stereo.
These were simpler times, and toys that could dance to the specific riffs in “Paradise City” were not easily ignored. Sadly, by 1988, I would’ve been more interested in toys that came with small rifles or tubs of killer slime, and Little Boppers did not cross my radar. Except for that one kind.
Little Boppers made its fortunes on the likes of Mickey Mouse and Miss Piggy, but for the sake of depth, deadly depth, there was a Little Boppers off-shoot just perfect for Halloween Countdowning.
Monster Boppers! I can’t recall if they had cutesy names, but the terrifying trio consisted of a werewolf, Frankenstein’s Monster, and what was either a generic vampire or Dracula himself — hopefully the latter, because as Watterson taught us, things are better when they’re specific.
I must assume that the Monster Boppers collection was a proper Halloween offering, because very few kids give a shit about vampires and werewolves at any other point during the year. I hate children.
They were just such random additions. You’ve got Kermit, okay, Goofy, okay, Rowlf, okay, Daisy, okay…and then Frankenstein’s Monster? It was as if one of the puzzles from the back of a Highlights magazine came to life in dancing doll form. Not sure what I meant by that, but it sounded good.
I’ve procured one of the Monster Boppers. I’m glad it’s Wolfie, because he reminds me so much of Zipper Cat from The Get Along Gang. Zipper Cat was great. He did more for roller skates than Tootie ever could.
First, a warning about Boppers dolls, too little and too late: The battery compartment is RIDIC. The cover is screwed in place, and if you want to open it, you’ll need one of those screwdrivers that absolutely nobody has. Not the big one, and no, not the little one.
Not even the one that’s one size up from the little one. No, you’ll need the one that’s two sizes up from the little one, and five sizes down from the big one. I am confident that this particular screwdriver works on NOTHING but the screws in the backs of Little Boppers.
And by the time you give up and concede that you must find this exact mystical tool, you’ll have already stripped the screw from trying eight other sizes, anyway.
Hours later, I was finally able to introduce Wolfie to four new “AA” batteries. I turned him on, hit the music and waited for my show. The show sucked. Evidently, as Wolfie has grown old, he’s lost 95% of his hearing.
I’m sure he had some smooth moves in his day, but Wolfie’s ears, knees and everything else aren’t what they used to be.
I had such grand visions of making him dance along to Toccata and Fugue in D minor, but no matter how loudly the speakers blared, he refused to budge. Only by banging a pot with a metal spoon was I able to get him to dance at all.
I should be happy that an ancient wolf can still boogie in even a moderate way, but I want more. I also wasn’t pleased to so quickly top my personal loseriffic best of spending hours trying to pry a battery cover off of a werewolf’s ass by then banging pots to make him subtly shrug.
You’re not trash, Wolfie. But you’re getting cloooose.