A Dream I Had About Franklin Pierce
by T. Mike
In the dream, I am just starting to play a totally immersive virtual reality video game. You have 360 degrees of computer generated visuals, audio and sensations around you. It's pretty cool, except that the graphics are not that great, they're obviously computer generated. The game is set in the Middle Ages and I am in charge of a large force of computer generated medieval troops and we're outside marching up a large, steep hill. We can see other, enemy armies marching up the hill on either side. I've set the game so the objective is to capture a small building at the very top of the hill. That's why the armies are all rushing up the hill and have yet to engage each other in combat. But well before we get to the top, my plan is to switch the objective to kill all the other armies. My thinking is this will make the battle much more interesting as we'll be able to get closer to the other armies and also have to fight on a forested hillside instead of a grassy plain.
However, before I can make the change in objective, indeed, before the game can really get going, suddenly, out of the sky, drops a cartoon version of the fourteenth president of the U.S.A., Franklin Pierce. He's animated in the style of 1950's cartoon TV commercials, and looks weirdly out of place in the pseudo-realistic, texture-mapped computer game. Now, I haven't a clue what Franklin Pierce looked like, but in the dream, he's got black hair, thick eyebrows and a weak chin. He's wearing a 1950's style gray suit with a red tie and his head is much too large for his body. In fact, he looks less like a president and a lot more like a Pep Boy (you know, Manny, Moe and Jack?).
But with that certainty of knowing that comes in dreams, I know he's former president Franklin Pierce. As he descends out of the sky, all game action ceases as all the armies watch him hover hundreds of feet in the air. He swoops over and joins a previously unseen sculpture, also floating hundreds of feet in the air. The sculpture is made of gray stone, but not ordinary gray stone, but CARTOON gray stone, so that it matches the mileux of Mr. Pierce's animated incarnation. Obviously he and the sculpture belong together. The sculpture is about two to three times taller than Mr. Pierce.
The sculpture is a base for Mr. Pierce to pose on and become one with. There is writing on the sculpture that I can't read. He leans against the edge of an enormous sculpted letter, then slips and falls comically. I know that the sculpture commemorates Mr. Pierce's signing into law the American copyright act.
The dream ends.
I have this dream pretty much all figured out. The entire sequence with Franklin Pierce, our 14th president (1853-1857), was nothing more than an elaborate copyright notice for the computer game I was playing. You know, please don't make copies of this game and give them away, it's illegal, blah blah blah. The programmers of the computer game decided to have a bit of fun and looked up what president we have to thank for our copyright laws, and raised him the status of a god, and then lowered him by making him goofily cartoony and having him slip and fall. All Mr. Pierce's actions were programmed, had I quit the game and restarted it, I would have seen him do the same thing. His appearance was nothing more than an elaborated bit of logo animation.
The question of Mr. Pierce's appearance is not quite as easily answered. Why did I dream him as a fifties looking cartoon logo rather than the 18th century gentleman I knew him to be? Perhaps his appearance symbolizes the trivialization of history, a subject my subconscious might have been extra concerned about, as this dream happened shortly after the Fourth of July. Which I spent mostly getting drunk, complaining that no one brought REAL hot dogs to grill and talking about lawn care. Mr. Pierce's odd appearance may also be explained in another way. He looked suspiciously close to a picture I recently saw of the ex-Nazi we had running NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 1969, Dr. Kurt H. Debus. (see pic)
Dr. Karl H. Debus, ex-Nazi
I had no idea what he looked like, so I just made up something. Why Franklin Pierce? Why not one of the surprisingly large number of other obscure U.S. presidents like Rutherford B. Hayes, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Buchanan or Chester A. Arthur? I don't know. Why I picked Franklin Pierce for the president who signed the copyright act, I don't know. Why I even remember that we had a president named Franklin Pierce, I don't know. He's one of those real fall-through-the-cracks-of-history presidents. I guess Millard Fillmore would have been the too-obvious obscure president. He's known for his obscurity in a perverse way. But Franklin Pierce is a genuinely obscurely obscure president. And he had pretty much nothing to do with copyright law. I did some research and found in reality, Washington signed the first U.S. Copyright Act into law, and Jackson, Grant, Roosevelt, and Carter presided over the next four major revisions. Lousy stupid historically inaccurate dream.
What conclusions can be drawn from this dream?
1. I am geek because I dreamed about playing a computer game.
2. I am a geek because most of the dream dealt with the copyright notice for the game.
3. I am a geek because I thought it the copyright notice was pretty cool and clever.
I thank you for your time.
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