A Yuuuge Terrific Nightmare
By Sam Mossler

    I had a nightmare.

    It was after a particularly soul crushing day and I carried all the sadness and frustration I’d consciously encountered with me into a restless sleep, wherein my subconscious had a field day:

    I found myself at Mohegan Sun. I don’t know why. But I was wandering through aisles of slot machines, trying with all my might not to burst into tears as thoughts of endless stressors hit me like tiny, angsty jackpots. The noises were overwhelming and the people made me even sadder and the carpeting wounded my sense of aesthetics to the extent that I thought I would collapse, so I found a seat at a nearly full poker table.

    After I’d gathered myself and wiped my brow on my sleeve I took in my surroundings.  I was sitting at a table full of older men in suits. They regarded me with perfectly reasonable scorn at first (reasonable because it was clear that I didn’t have the wherewithal to ante up). But after they’d taken a few beats to grok my state of mind, their scorn turned to discomfort with tiny traces of pity. For a few seconds I focused on one of the men’s ties because it had a pattern that seemed to be preventing me from passing out. Then I widened my vista to take in the rest of the collection of high stakes gamblers. And that’s when I saw Donald Trump.

    I’ve never thought of Trump as, in any way, an empath. But in this nightmare he seemed to sense that I was about one raised eyebrow away from an emotional meltdown. The tone of his voice when he addressed his crew suggested that I was wearing a vest of explosives: “Give us a minute.”  And the rest of the table cleared out quietly.

    Trump and I sat alone at the table. I heard a distant slot erupt with coins. And then I began to weep, loudly and openly. I didn’t care. I knew that I was sitting across from the world’s premiere alpha male and that I was making a fool of myself but I just let it rip. The veins in my forehead were pounding, snot and tears flowed by the bucketful. Trump was genuinely at a loss. I could see his brain trying to determine what the proper reaction should be when met with a pathetically blubbering man at his poker table. And then Trump, suddenly reflexively human, reached out and squeezed my arm. I didn’t stop crying but I had enough spare brain space to notice the fabric of his suit and thought that it seemed cheaper than it should be. And then I wondered why Trump was touching me. And what he was doing at Mohegan Sun. But those were wisps of thought. In short order, the fact that this seemingly heartless king of the douche canoes was even attempting to be empathetic made me weep even harder.

    Trump asked me what was wrong and I told him all about my day and about a particular individual who was causing my soul to eat itself. His hand never left my arm. His hand, at least in the dream, was enormous. After I’d finished telling him my sad, sorry tale, he was pensive for a moment.

    “Give me eight months,” he said, “Maybe a year. I’ll sort everything out. You won’t have to worry about anything.”

    And then his empathy was suddenly sinister. In Trump’s world “sort everything out” could have any number of implications. In the dream, I was certain that it meant that someone I’d told him about, who I loved deeply but who just happened to be giving me a hard time that day, was going to end up dead or otherwise destroyed. And in my dream, I felt like there was no turning back, that I’d inadvertently, under emotional duress, given Trump a mission that he would accomplish even if I begged him not to. (A secondary concern was that I’d now have to vote for him.)

    He called over one of his lackeys and whispered something to him as a cocktail waitress brought me an old fashioned and gave Trump a smoothie of some kind.  After he’d finished whispering his orders and his lackey had departed he held his smoothie aloft and winked at me.

    And then I woke with a desperate gasp, drenched in sweat.

    In the ensuing weeks I keep going back to that dream and wondering what it could have been about. At the end of a very long, sad, and disappointing day, why would my subconscious seek solace and comfort at the hands of a man whom I so energetically loathe? 

    I tried to identify all the Jungian symbols I encountered. I tried to determine what archetype I identified with this disgusting human being that allowed him to be a savior figure in the deepest most vulnerable bowels of my subconscious. It was very upsetting to me that somehow my own mind had allowed his ascendance to that point in spite of my loathing everything he stands for. And, though even in my dream I was conflicted, I have to admit to feeling comforted for a split second.

    Good friends say “I’m sorry that you’re hurting. I know what it’s like. I’ve been there (or I am there) and all we can do is pull ourselves through it and know it’ll get better…if even for a few days before the next shit storm.” Good friends are right. But there’s no immediate comfort there. There’s the promise of reprieve. There’s the hint of better days. But there’s no finality. There’s no assurance. There’s nothing tangible in those words. “I’ll take care of it.”, on the other hand, is comforting. It suggests that your torment is almost over and that all of your problems are dead and you can go back to shopping and fucking again.

    Do I wish for the premature demise of a beloved friend? No. Do I want the constructs of civilization to be destroyed and its foundation to be thrown into the sea? No. Neither would make me feel better. Both would make me feel substantially worse, in fact. So why, in my dream, did I feel momentarily relieved when he put his big dumb hand on my shoulder and assured me restitution?

    I think that there may be something here. If you ask the average Trump supporter, my beloved aunt for example, if she identifies with with misogynists she will say ‘No. Of course not.’. The same response would be delivered upon considering his bigotry, his greed, his tackiness, and on and on and on. At the end of any conversation with a Trump supporter about his apparent lack of merits, the bottom line is not dissimilar to what I experienced in my dream: I’m tired. I’m sad. I’m frustrated. I’m even angry. My hope tank has sprung a leak. I am on the verge of collapse. And here’s a man who I wouldn’t trust alone with my sister, but who gives every indication that he has power. Here’s a man who offends my sensibilities on every level, challenges every tenet of my moral universe, and represents the very worst that humanity has to offer, but because he has no scruples whatsoever, he could be the answers to all my prayers (assuming I’m in good with him).

    It’s such a refreshing break from nuance.

    It’s like a Twinkie when you’re starving. You’re receiving no nutrition but there’s something in your stomach.

    It’s like throwing away the tight jeans in your closet and buying sweatpants.

    It’s like taking the elevator for one floor. Or riding a Segway. At all.

    It’s like looking for someone to blame for your misery and deciding on a Mexican because you don’t have the energy to mentally tackle the complexities of the oligarchy.

    It’s like using a Smith and Wesson to cure a headache.

    These are a few of the things Americans are actually doing these days. Some of them are more forgivable than others. But they all spring from the same root cause: we’re fried. There’s a reasonable possibility that our exhaustion and inertia and dejection will make us powerless, as a collective, to resist the temporal comfort of Trump’s hand on our arm. 

    But it was just a dream! I woke up, relieved, and came immediately to my senses.

    In about seven months we will see for ourselves if the country at large will follow suit. This fried-ass populace has seven months to snap out of it and muster some sentience. As I write this I have some degree of optimism, but then today wasn’t an entirely bad day. If tomorrow’s rotten, I may find my subconscious at a Turkish bath with Mitch McConnell.