Academia, will you ever forgive me for nights like this one?
Dream in which I fall in love with a very tall strange girl and spend the rest of the dream trying to get back to her. Keep getting sidetracked. She is "sister" of our neighbors the E.'s. Adopted much later I guess. I met her through them: we all danced around in the living room in a moment of shared silliness. I nearly knocked over someone's cello. But I had to go before we could talk more and now I want to get back to her.
She works for the city industrial department, in particular she does "underground stuff." There is actually a tunnel with a ladder that emerges near her; I have the option of climbing down the ladder and through some subterranean network. Instead I want to take my bike.
Mom does not approve of this girl. According to her she is washed up 45 yr old actress who is always forgetting stuff, her brain is fried. Don't care, want to go see her anyway, so I'm lying to Mom telling her I'm just gonna go on a bike ride. First though I must eat up.
At a restaurant, I clumsily spill a bottle of white wine at a table of two women and one man. I am all apologies. Realize I am still wearing white mittens and I must take them off in order to wring my hands with suitable distress. Funny how I'm never really sorry for anything, I just know I have to act like I am. It's a show of effort thing. Who doesn't do the same?
The people at the table are pissed. The crowd around me also not in my favor, so I tell man he can go spit in my beer to make it even. It is hanging in a tree over there, just off the edge of the patio, like a christmas ornament. He goes and spits at it and this appeases people. There is a moment of self analysis where everyone kind of realizes how ridiculous the whole situation is, especially the fact that by this act of spitting the balance of politeness has been restored. I say "american manners" and walk off to general laughter.
Forget the beer and food, need to get on my bike to see my tall actress girl. I ride across a meadow. There are artillery shells dropping behind me. Why I don't know. Luckily I and my bike are encased in a bubble of plasting shielding. The shells, however, keep landing closer and closer, I can hear them behind me. Finally I get nailed, fall off my bike, breaking my glasses in the process. Get up and start walking. It becomes night and I am walking through a residential district now.
Somehow meet sister L. here. She is all aflutter with news of someone after her. We are sitting in the nighttime grass together as she explains this. She seems scared. Then a bunch of neighbor kids come running from across the street into the nearest house. She tells me cops have been called on the Johnson kid. I go inside the neighbor's house as the cop car pulls up (this is slightly suspicious of me).
Mom has come across the street for us. I explain away my broken glasses as I am marched back over. I am taken to Dad. He is not happy as he sits me down in the living room. Whole family is around, including grandparents, all there to watch the inquisition silently. Dad is almost in tears. His eyes are very fierce and red as he looks at me from under a white ballcap. He begins with "would you commit a crime if the penalty was a dime? Or if it only cost you a quarter?" I'm like dude no Dad I would not commit a crime because in fact the punishment function is not a smooth continuous function increasing from very small numbers as you say, but is a step function. The steps are quite broad and the first one (misdemeanor or whatever) is quite high. Of course I don't factor in the probability of getting caught into all this but whatever, I think I've made the point. It's economics Dad I tell him. My whole explanation seems so natural to me.
But it is not what he wants to hear of course, he'd rather hear something about no I wouldn't commit a crime because its wrong in an absolute sense, some moral reasoning or other. Ok he says and suddenly here's Bill Cosby to take over the interview.
Bill Cosby is apparently the neighborhood detective. He chit chats me up a little. Then asks me if I've been dating this girl named Katie. Yeah I tell him. As I tell him I realize she was actually a girl I knew from high school. Even while I was dating her I was somehow unaware of this. Wow, people sure do change I'm thinking to myself.
For some reason though he thinks I'm still dating her. I correct him. No we just "saw each other" for about two weeks and I'm not dating her anymore. He seems amused by the flightiness of young love, bouncing from relationship to relationship, definitely not the Cosby style I guess. He shakes his head.
Anyway he still wants to know more. Did she ever drink? Uh, I think about it a bit, yes, I guess she did. I have no idea where any of this is going. He seems to sense this. He has felt me out enough to know that I'm not in cahoots with her. Apparently--I hear this later from sister L--she must be involved in some sort of neighborhood robbery scheme. (For alcohol money? I don't get it.)
Having expended this particular lead detective Cosby is visibly very eager to get on with the next. He hurriedly shakes my hand and makes for the door, breaks into a sprint as I yell my goodbye to him. He is wearing a track suit.
As I close the door I receive a call on my cellphone which shows up as "Yellow Lip Girl." I don't immediately remember ever entering this name. Then I realize yes it was my friend M. "Hey M." She barely says hello, just fires off this question "hey, guess who just named their baby 'denmark'?" Some celebrity I suppose, I don't follow that shit M., you know that, but tell me anyway. But she has already hung up. Must have been drunk. Really drunk. Denmark?
Then I remember, I was trying to get over to see my tall girl. I have been really anxious this whole time to see her, she does not have a phone and there is no way to communicate. Except somehow earlier she got a note to me saying hey I hope to see you again, you should come visit. But this is one-way, she doesn't know I got it or if I'm coming at all. Since the bike method didn't pan out I need to take the train. It is a doubledecker above ground train with orange / red plush couches every which way inside.
A partial etymology of the phrase double dog dare. Also mentioned is an even more fearsome possibility, the "black dog dare." I suspect this to be a British thing--any Americans ever heard of this variant?
This article notwithstanding, I still feel there is a real lack of research in this important area. I mean, really, the phrase is revolutionary. It defines a fundamental unit for measuring risk: the dog. Accepting a "single dog dare" presumably means that you are knowingly taking on an amount of risk equal to one dog. Gone are the days of blind risk-taking; you now have all the tools at your disposal to evaluate all possible outcomes and expected values in order to make an educated decision. Here's a concrete example.
One day on the playground Billy is dared by a group of boys to pee on the school building while the teachers aren't watching. He is initially hesitant. Things soon escalate however to the double dog dare level, forcing the issue. He takes out pen and paper and writes:
c0 = cost of ridicule for not peeing on the building (in units of dog)
c1 = cost of getting in trouble if i am caught peeing (in units of dog)
p = probability i will successfully pee and not get caught
v = 2p - (1-p)c1
Plugging in appropriate values for c0, c1, and p, Billy finds that v < -c0--in other words, that in taking the challenge he should expect "even more negative dogs" than if he didn't--and so he declines. He then receives a wedgie which tears his underwear down the back. However, he merely smiles at this because it was already fully taken into account by his estimate of c0. He turns to the masked man wearing an orange and brown spandex suit with pointy ears standing beside him.
"Thanks, Double Dog Man."
"No problem, Billy. You the man now, dog."
salami dream take me so far away--
like rheumy scrooge
telling marley's ghost
he's a blot of mustard--
purchase cowboy outfit, all green
comes with kilt
and what, girl's shoes too?
i give them to my sister.
horrible acts ensue:
"i know it's wrong"
says man in spotlight
as he goes ahead and does it anyway.
somewhere teeth grit
in a cartoon face.
wake to screams of children
suddenly i remember
there is a school nearby
i live in brooklyn now.
silent boxes stand around me
like cardboard stonehenge.
someone better clean up
this drool puddle on the altar.