I had a very disturbing dream last night, which involved a really mean gas station attendant who wanted to charge me $9.95 to recycle an Australian newspaper I had purchased at his establishment. I’m not going to overanalyze this, though I certainly could, as I’ve never purchased or recycled an Australian newspaper in my life, free or at a steep fee, and also, I spend as little time in gas stations as possible.

Another employee at the gas station, after witnessing his co-worker’s exceptionally harsh treatment of me, offered me some Pixie Stix to cheer me up. And it worked, at first. Then I noticed that the package, which clearly contained Pixie Stix, was actually labeled “SweetTarts”.

The dream kept going, but from that moment on, I wasn’t buying any of it. Suddenly, I knew I was in a dream. I managed to suspend my disbelief for all the factual inaccuracies up to that point, but seeing a mislabeled candy package took me out of the dream and made me wake up, horrified, in a cold sweat. Something was seriously amiss.

I mean, does my subconscious mind not know the difference between these two sugary snacks, because my conscious mind sure does. This is not a detail I would ever miss, so how did it make the final cut? Was there a screw-up in the prop department in my head? Or am I so totally deranged that this subtle switcheroo, a very minor background detail in a dream with a long, complicated narrative, actually has meaning and represents some kind of clue into my seemingly boundless neuroses? Maybe to me, even the sweetest of the sweet seems just a bit tart. Maybe it’s a warning about not taking gifts at face value. Maybe SweetTarts are what they call Pixie Stix in Australia, like how overseas, Smarties are really M&M’s.

Or maybe somebody in the subconscious fact-checking department really screwed up. And if that’s the case, heads are gonna roll.


* or “cous” if you prefer.

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