The Unconscious Critic

My husband tells me I talk in my sleep. I never have recollection of these events, so we’ll have to take his word for it. Sometimes my utterances make no sense. There was the time, for example, that I woke him up, pushing into his ribs with two fingers, saying: Don’t forget the football platter!  when I abhor football. Another time I got very angry with him because he wouldn’t get the dog some water. You bastard! I said. The dog needs water!

We have no dog.

There might seem to be a theme emerging here. Usually, when I talk in my sleep, I’m agitated. I think that’s because my husband stays up a lot later than I do and something he’s done in his wakeful state has disturbed me in my sleeping one. There’re two things you never want to interrupt me at:  sleeping and eating. Never.

But after last night, I think there’s something else going on. My husband was lying next to me working on his NYTimes crossword puzzle while I lightly snored, night music he calls it, and he made a little of his own, humming Peter, Paul and Mary’s old standard, Gone The Rainbow. You know, Shule, shule, shule-a-roo, Shule-a-rak-shak, shule-a-ba-ba-coo. When I saw my Sally Babby Beal, come bibble in the boo shy Lorey. He must have bothered deep REM sleep for me to be as angry as I was. Apparently, I blurted out:  Quit singing that damn nursery rhyme crap!

At least that’s what he tells me. I have no memory of the event. Now, when I was a young woman, Peter, Paul, and Mary were heroes. They were iconic rebels to all white middle class high school students. I think Mary was the reason I first wore my hair long and straight with bangs and took up dressing in black turtlenecks and slacks, even in summer. I loved them. I also haven’t thought about them in forty years.

But as my husband sang Gone the Rainbow to me the next morning and told me of my outburst, I thought:  Geez, that really is a load of damn nursery rhyme crap. How could I have ever liked it?  At least Puff the Magic Dragon had a marijuana message behind it. So I took to Google to read the lyrics entire and realized old PP&M were singing a Gaelic war protest song, or really, given the nature of the Gaels, just a sad song about war that had been transformed for American youth into a war protest song. Only, out of the mouths of PP&M, it sounds exactly like a load of damn nursery rhyme crap.

I wondered why I didn’t notice that in the old days back at Archbishop Williams High School. I had pretty good taste otherwise in those days. But it took The Unconscious Critic to make me aware of how I really felt on this one. All day long, I’ve been thinking of the white songsters who made fortunes bleeding the soul out of good music back in the day. I’m pretty sure the Unconscious Critic didn’t or doesn’t like them either. What a useful creature that girl is! Now, if only I could figure out how to make her operate when I’m awake.

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