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The Good Burger Quandary


By C. Rommial ButlerPublished 2 months ago 6 min read
Top Story - December 2023
Fun for kids and nostalgic burnouts alike...

“You’re sleeping in the bathtub tonight!”

You don’t have to worry about any spoilers for Good Burger 2. This delightfully absurd movie is worth watching, especially if you have kids, because like the first one, it’s so bad it’s good. But this essay is not about the movie, so I won’t put the above line in context lest I spoil the joke. What’s important is that it was this movie from which the line came.

I woke up one morning, years ago, confounded about a dream I had. As often happens upon awakening, much of the dream slipped away, but the bemusing part was this: I dreamt of the kid from Good Burger saying:

“You’re sleeping in the bathtub tonight!”

I watched Good Burger 2 with my kids recently. In one scene, a kid dressed and acting just like the original Ed from Good Burger, in passing, from a side profile, said:

“You’re sleeping in the bathtub tonight!”

As the scene played and the line was uttered, I flashed back to the confused awakening of yesteryear, recalling with that strange sense of déjà vu the exact scene, as if I’d already watched it.

Because I had. In my dreams.

This phenomenon has recurred throughout my life. It is usually very discomfiting when it happens. I feel frozen in place, irritated with this idea of being locked onto a track. But this time I laughed. The kids probably thought I laughed at the joke, but it was the joke within a joke at which I laughed; for not only were the line and the film absurd, but so too, must I reason, is my life.

Of all the things that I could experience through dream precognition, a silly line from a lovably ridiculous film is not what the hero stories of my youth lead me to believe would occur.

Let me be clearer, however, about what I dreamed all those years ago.

I dreamed that I sat there with my children and watched a movie. Children not yet born. A movie yet to be made. I dreamed it.

Or did I?

It’s possible that my brain, my nervous system, my mind, or whatever, could have created this sensation of déjà vu, a feeling attached to me watching the scene for the first time, a feeling that inspires the idea of a remembrance that did not in fact occur.

I maintain a healthy skepticism about this both ways.

It would seem a mistake to me to disregard the possibility that consciousness sends its feelers out beyond the present moment. After all, memory is, though not always an accurate representation of the past, a sort of reaching backwards; perhaps precognition reaches forward, but our minds are not as in tune with the process.

Or it could just be a neurological malfunction.

I laughed—not only at the absurdity of the joke within a joke but also at the notion that, if my lot was to have been to sit here and wile away the time with people I love, the track isn’t so bad as I thought.

Of course, that hasn’t always been my lot. But this one moment when laughter afforded a release from the turmoil in my soul, I drank it like the finest wine, thankful as for the nectar of the gods. There was peace there, in that short laugh, a snort, almost just a chuckle.

There was sorrow too, but there was peace.

When I experience these moments, the memory of dreaming the moment is vivid and specific down to every detail. The moment and the dream moment are exact replicas.

But it’s only a moment.

So, if I disregard it as a neurological malfunction, I can dismiss it and move on with my life, so long as it isn’t so frequent or enduring that it disrupts my otherwise (kind of) functional existence.

But if I want to creep just a bit down the road of speculation, I might wonder if these moments are anchor points, and the stages that pass between them fluctuate. Are we repeating a loop with variable possible experiences within it?

Though different instances of dream precognition have recurred over the course of my life, I only ever recall one recurring dream. As a young child, from my earliest memory to around ten years old, I would dream my body was flattened like a cartoon character under a steamroller, and rolled up on a sort of spit which would rotate faster and faster until the dizzying effect would wake me. It would only be me and the spit. The rest of the dreamscape was black and void.

Later I had a prophetic dream in which I found a note which read UNION WITH THE INSANE LOOP. I can’t explain now what about it seemed prophetic, though I recall it having something to do with Gematria and other Hermetic abstractions.

Distractions? In some ways, yes. Whatever language of symbols we pick onto which to project our abstract thoughts must be elastic, but not so elastic that we are free to deceive ourselves as to the interpretation. Hermes, being indeed thrice-great, also tends to be thrice-grateful for our innate gullibility. It’s only fitting that such a wise god should take pleasure in observing the folly of man.

In any event, these are just several examples of this theme of recurrence which seems to plague my waking and sleeping moments. I don’t know if there’s any significance to it, really, and only relate it to you, dear reader, as I find it interesting. Perhaps you’ve had similar experiences? Well, feel free to tell your own story. Maybe I’ll get to reading it sometime.

Or maybe I’ll dream it.

I leave you with these fated lines from Friedrich Nietzsche, who no doubt would have been sleeping in the bathtub:

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you, “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or, did you once experience a tremendous moment when you would have answered him, “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” would weigh upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate, eternal, confirmation and seal?”

***** * *****

Also, I wrote a song about it. Wanna hear?

"We never felt anything better."

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About the Creator

C. Rommial Butler

C. Rommial Butler is a writer, musician and philosopher from Indianapolis, IN. His works can be found online through multiple streaming services and booksellers.

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  • Ha Le Sa26 days ago

    I couldn't stop reading. Your writing was really well done!

  • Matthew van der Wegenabout a month ago

    Unfortunately my money is tied up abroad and I have been rendered homeless. Please check out this link: Any help would be awesome! Even a $3 or $5 donation would be a great help. Thank you very much!

  • Naveed 2 months ago

    Excellent work! Keep up the fantastic effort—congrats!

  • k eleanor2 months ago

    Wow, this is so fascinating. Your storytelling is like a rollercoaster for the mind! Congratulations on the top story!

  • Jay Kantor2 months ago

    Hi C - You are a marvelous StoryTeller. I Want to tell you about a meeting I had with the D.M. at a Market I wrote about: I don't know if you've read the silly "Popsicle" - I became friendly with him and his staff. I will delete this in a few minutes so as not to steal your thunder. He told me, "it's Saturday morning and no one is shopping in his stores; the New Years weekend. From a Labor Law point of view...what do I think?" He can't move merchandise that is perishing stacked in aisles. And, can't discount anything further. Regular Ground Beef is $16.50 a get the point CR. Can't imagine how families handle this?  I don't GiT AnyOfiT....But, he wants to pay my fee in Burger-Meat/Hold the Onions!...Hmm! Jay, Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Village Community -

  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    A fascinating piece. Dreams are so fascinating in so many ways. I had deja vu in Turkey where I gave a random person, directions to a random place I had never beem. Though I recalled the place from a dream. I also dreamt I should go to Marrakesh. I haven't yet because it doesn't 'feel' right. Very bizzare. "memory is, though not always an accurate representation of the past," This made me laugh a little. You should meet my mother. Her memory is rarely an accurate representation of the past. Or maybe its mine that isn't? Huh! Food for thought. Sorry for essay! Thank you for your insightful words 🤍

  • Melissa Ingoldsby2 months ago

    Your train of thought scares me, yet utterly intrigues me to a level I can not yet master. I really loved this personal essay. You are a mad genius I declare!👌❤️

  • Kristen Balyeat2 months ago

    So cool that this got top story! Congrats! 💫

  • Whoaaaaa!!! This blew my mind!!! I've experienced dejavu but definitely not to the extent of "Children not yet born. A movie yet to be made." I do have prophetic dreams though but they do not come true in the same sequence of events as my dream. Only the end result of it would be same. Like whoaaaa, I'm still trying to digest all this, lol. Also, I loved your song, especially the dark sorta music!

  • Kristen Balyeat2 months ago

    This article hit at such an interesting time for me. I have been contemplating the significance of dreams lately, as I had a vivid almost lucid dream a couple of months ago that a hawk was flying above me with a long leather strap attached to its leg. I grabbed the strap and it came to sit on my arm. Then a week later a hawk flew down my street directly at me and then floated above me for a minute. I burst into tears remembering my dream. Even though it was slightly different than my dream, it was jarring to have that experience. Now, on my daily walks the same hawk joins me at some point, soaring above my head, and it keeps entering my dreams. I don't know what to make of it, or if there is significance other than just a little magical gift. Anyway, your words and experience gave me lots to think about! Thank you so much for writing!!! And I'm going to be contemplating those lines from Friedrich Nietzsche. Such an interesting stream of thought. Grateful to have read this! Thanks for sharing your music with us— I loved your song! SO awesome!

  • Naveed 2 months ago

    Your storytelling ability captivates the reader,

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