I’m running a marathon in my dream, which is odd because i haven’t actually run once since the mid-1960s. It’s going OK as far as marathons go.
It’s around the 18 mile point, which strikes me as odd. Everything is sailing along in a marathony way, until orange cones across the street direct the race through a library.
On the library door, a sign says we must find two books in the library using the Dewey Decimal System. The names of the books are on the back of our bibs. We must then write a short book review on a legal pad next to the Dewey index cabinets, and get two other runners to sign it.
This strikes me as highly unusual in a race. I know in the Barkley Marathons you’re required to find books and tear out the pages, but not actually read them. But rules is rules.
I HATE the Dewey Decimal System. When I die, I picture hell as nothing but Hannity and Ingraham while eating those creepy white popsicles. Why would you go to the trouble of making a popsicle and then coloring it all white? Why would you go the trouble of making a news channel and then coloring it all white? None of which has anything to do with the Dewey Decimal System, but still.
I dutifully (Dewey-tifully?) find my homework. One is a recipe book for tofu (seriously). I am relieved because it’s fairly easy to fake a review quickly. The other is “The Talented Ribkins,” a novel I had just started in real life, which I seem to be aware of in the dream. I skim through enough to make a valiant effort at faking it. Done and done.
I look around the library. The only other runner in the room is Tom Whitehurst Jr., a fine editorial page editor and a quality runner. Why is he in this dream? I ask him to sign my paper, but he won’t because I once screwed up his editorial page. This is entirely plausible, because I’ve screwed up a LOT of pages.
In the end, I just forge two signatures, scribbling them Mo Sheppo style. How would they ever catch me? I put my sheet of legal paper in the box, waddle along on legs that have long since locked up because they thought we were done, and get back on the course.
A mile later, I realize the awful truth. There was a timing mat on the way in to the library, and another on the way out. They will know who was in the library a t the same time as me. They will know the signatures are fake.
I freeze in the road. Do I keep going, with a DQ an eventual certainty? Do I go back and try to get legitimate signatures, even though it will add two miles to the course?
I am transfixed in the roadway as runners pass by. I look at my watch.
And then I wake up.
Some dreams are weirder than others.