Today I saw a commercial for a smoking cessation product. It warned of a side effect of having unusual dreams.

What does that mean? I thought that was the point of dreams. To have us do and think weird things for a few hours.

The funny thing is, my last dream that seemed strange for me was one in which I’d decided to smoke. What seemed unusual was that when I awoke, it felt like I really had experienced inhaling and holding the cigarette. I bet that dream would be a common one for someone trying to quit. Maybe if they had my recurring one of moving into the dorm when the semester had already ended they would call 911.

I get pissed off at those little paperback dream interpretation books for sale among the cheap emery boards and fruity lip glosses that you get to look at while waiting at the register. Maybe sometimes a snake means a penis, but maybe sometimes it means a concern that you left the garden hose on. Maybe you need to cut back on eating kielbasa. We all have different experiences. Maybe a snake means a 1975 Pacer X to you.

Sure, it’s good to be aware of our bodies’ reactions when we take pharmaceuticals. If you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours, call a physician if your partner will let you.

But let’s not call our subconscious life a “side effect”.