Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March 27: Bloody on His Mind, Bad Dreams, School Problems

Next morning Stubb accosted Flask.

"Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had. You know the old man's ivory leg, well I dreamed he kicked me with it; and when I tried to kick back, upon my soul, my little man, I kicked my leg right off! And then, presto! Ahab seemed a pyramid, and I like a blazing fool, kept kicking at it. But what was still more curious, Flask- you know how curious all dreams are- through all this rage that I was in, I somehow seemed to be thinking to myself, that after all, it was not much of an insult, that kick from Ahab. 'Why,' thinks I, 'what's the row? It's not a real leg, only a false one.' And there's a mighty difference between a living thump and a dead thump. That's what makes a blow from the hand, Flask, fifty times more savage to bear than a blow from a cane. The living member- that makes the living insult, my little man. And thinks I to myself all the while, mind, while I was stubbing my silly toes against that cursed pyramid- so confoundedly contradictory was it all, all the while, I say, I was thinking to myself, 'what's his leg now, but a cane-. a whale-bone cane. Yes,' thinks I, 'it was only a playful cudgelling- in fact, only a whaleboning that he gave me- not a base kick. Besides,' thinks I, 'look at it once; why, the end of it- the foot part- what a small sort of end it is; whereas, if a broad footed farmer kicked me, there's a devilish broad insult. But this insult is whittled down to a point only.' But now comes the greatest joke of the dream, Flask. While I was battering away at the pyramid, a sort of badger-haired old merman, with a hump on his back, takes me by the shoulders, and slews me round. 'What are you 'bout?' says he. Slid! man, but I was frightened. Such a phiz! But, somehow, next moment I was over the fright. 'What am I about?' says I at last. 'And what business is that of yours, I should like to know, Mr. Humpback? Do you want a kick?' By the lord, Flask, I had no sooner said that, than he turned round his stern to me, bent over, and dragging up a lot of seaweed he had for a clout- what do you think, I saw?- why thunder alive, man, his stern was stuck full of marlinspikes, with the points out. Says I on second thought, 'I guess I won't kick you, old fellow.' 'Wise Stubb,' said he, 'wise Stubb;' and kept muttering it all the time, a sort of eating of his gums like a chimney hag. Seeing he wasn't going to stop saying over his 'wise Stubb, wise Stubb,' I thought I might as well fall to kicking the pyramid again. But I had only just lifted my foot for it, when he roared out, 'Stop that kicking!' 'Halloa,' says I, 'what's the matter now, old fellow?' 'Look ye here,' says he; 'let's argue the insult. Captain Ahab kicked ye, didn't he?' 'Yes, he did,' says I- 'right here it was.' 'Very good,' says he- 'he used his ivory leg, didn't he?' 'Yes, he did,' says I. 'Well then,' says he, 'wise Stubb, what have you to complain of? Didn't he kick with right good will? it wasn't a common pitch pine leg he kicked with, was it? No, you were kicked by a great man, and with a beautiful ivory leg, Stubb. It's an honor; I consider it an honor. Listen, wise Stubb. In old England the greatest lords think it great glory to be slapped by a queen, and made garter-knights of; but, be your boast, Stubb, that ye were kicked by old Ahab, and made a wise man of. Remember what I say; be kicked by him; account his kicks honors; and on no account kick back; for you can't help yourself, wise Stubb. Don't you see that pyramid?' With that, he all of a sudden seemed somehow, in some queer fashion, to swim off into the air. I snored; rolled over; and there I was in my hammock! Now, what do you think of that dream, Flask?"

"I don't know; it seems a sort of foolish to me, tho.'"

"May be; may be. But it's made a wise man of me, Flask. D'ye see Ahab standing there, sideways looking over the stern? Well, the best thing you can do, Flask, is to let the old man alone; never speak to him, whatever he says. Halloa! What's that he shouts? Hark!"

"Mast-head, there! Look sharp, all of ye! There are whales hereabouts!  If ye see a white one, split your lungs for him!"

"What do you think of that now, Flask? ain't there a small drop of something queer about that, eh? A white whale- did ye mark that, man? Look ye- there's something special in the wind. Stand by for it, Flask. Ahab has that that's bloody on his mind. But, mum; he comes this way."

Stubb dreams of Ahab, and it's strange.  Pyramids and a badger-haired merman.  All to deliver the message that a kick from Ahab's ivory leg is not an insult, but an honor.  Ahab is placed on the level of royalty or, even, divinity.  And poor Stubb has no idea what to make of this visit from Queen Mab.

I never have Stubb's problem, because I can never remember my dreams.  For the first waking seconds, they remain with me, whether nightmare or nocturnal emission.  Then, they're gone like rain sliding off the windshield of a moving car.  What stays with me is the accompanying emotions.  If I wake from a bad dream, I carry that dread with me into the day.  If I wake from a pleasant dream, I remain in a good mood as I rise and prepare myself to face the sun.

Last night, I had a dream about my son.  That's all I can remember about it.  It wasn't a good dream.  Before I went to bed last night, my wife and I were discussing problems that my son is having at school. 

My son suffers from a couple conditions--ADHD and ODD.  Most people are familiar with ADHD.  ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is not as well known.  Without getting too technical, ODD makes my son bridle against rules and authority.  ADHD makes him quite impulsive.  He's not able to control his emotions and actions at times.

Well, it seems that yesterday my son punched a classmate in the face for seemingly no apparent reason.  My son wouldn't talk to the principal or my wife about it.  Recently, he's been having these outbursts quite a bit, and we can't figure out why.  He's been doing really well in school up to now.  And my son just presses his lips together and won't say a word.

My wife and I talked about his latest episode right before I fell asleep, and it caused me to have some kind of nightmare.  I woke in a cold panic, and I've been worried about my son all day long.  Can't say why.  Every time my son crossed my mind today, I said a little prayer for him, something along the lines of "Dear Jesus, please don't let him injure or maim anyone today."

In about an hour, when I see my wife, I will find out what kind of day my son had, and I'm not looking forward to it.  My son has a doctor's appointment tomorrow.  My wife is going to speak to his pediatrician about increasing one of his medications so that he takes a dose of it at lunch time.

This was actually my son's idea.  He said something to my wife before bed about not being able to control himself in the afternoon.  So he knows that he's having a problem, and he wants to stop punching and kicking and yelling at his classmates.  That sort of breaks my heart.  It's almost as if he's watching himself from above, realizing that what he's doing is wrong.  But he can't stop himself.

I'm not saying my son is innocent.  I'm saying that my son has a problem that needs to be addressed, not through detentions and punishments and groundings.  Those things aren't going to make a bit of difference.  It's something physical/chemical in his brain.  I can honestly say that my son would not intentionally heart a living thing.  Ever.  He cares about people and things very deeply.

I am hoping for good news soon:  a day without bloodshed or bruises.  It's that simple.

Saint Marty is thankful today for good dreams, when they come.

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