I dream of Daddy

Damn, I just got Rickrolled.

Not on the Internet—where such memes should be confined—but in a dream.

There I was, sleeping, dreaming of kittens or work deadlines or losing my teeth when—bam: up pops ’80s singer Rick Astley, hijacking slumberland with an impromptu serenade of “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

I’m pretty used to it, actually.

Not Astley, mind you, but celebrity dreams in general.

Just the other night it was Tom Hanks. In that dream, the one-time Sac State-student-turned-mega-movie-star was complaining about not being able to get funding for a sequel he was directing—Forrest Gump 2? Still Sleepless in Seattle? Bosom Buddies Revisited?—I don’t remember, but I woke up wondering, “Why Tom Hanks?”

Then again, why not?

I dream about celebrities a lot, after all.

No, really, a lot: Liza Minnelli, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. Mary-Kate and Ashley, Robin Williams, Britney Spears and the entire cast of The Simpsons. Beck, Ryan Adams and Puff Daddy.

In fact, Puff Daddy has a recurring bit part in my subconscious—I dread his appearances because, every time he shows up, it means the music mogul’s going to try to kill me. Again and again and again.

I can’t quite figure out what that’s about. I can’t figure out what most of them are about.

Is it pop-culture residue, mucking up my brain? Was Hanks’ dream cameo just the natural result of being subjected to all those Larry Crowne trailers?

Maybe—but what about Rick Astley? And Puff Daddy? Somebody please explain Puff Daddy.

Such dreams have long populated my sleeping hours. The first one I remember involved Madonna living in a dog house in my backyard following her split from Sean Penn.

I remember that I woke up feeling useful and protective, happy to have helped. Never mind that the Material Girl is worth millions and surely had no need for my dog’s run-down abode.

The dream was odd, but I’m not the first to dream of the singer. In fact, there’s an entire book devoted to the subject. I Dream of Madonna: Women’s Dreams of the Goddess of Pop is a collection of writers’ dreams, each one presenting the pop icon in a surreal, symbolic fashion. Some, like me, dreamed about rescuing her from danger. Others found themselves empowered by her wealth, while some viewed her in more mundane settings—she appeared as a police officer to one person, for example.

What does it mean? What does any of it mean?

My dream life has always been active and weird, playing on my mental screen like anxiety-induced, Technicolor-bright, speculative sci-fi.

I also have amazing talents while I sleep: I write the most amazing pop songs in my dreams, even though I can’t carry a tune when I’m awake.

Overactive imagination, wishful thinking or … or what?

Does this relentless, internal stargazing mean that I’m obsessed with celebrity culture? That I’m shallow and incapable of relating to “real” people?

Theories on the subject run the gamut—depending on what dream dictionary you consult, such dreams symbolize myriad things: An inflated sense of self or ambition, the pursuit of happiness or perhaps a rather unnerving, stalkerish sense of kinship with the celebrity in question.

It’s possible that I simply read too much US Weekly. Perhaps our pop culture-drenched society has successfully reshaped my brain into a Kim Kardashian-shaped vessel for useless information.

Or maybe I’m just really, really afraid of Puff Daddy.