Dream On

Some people who read my blog love trading or rehashing crazy family stories, and goodness knows my family has a lot of them.

After hearing Aerosmith’s Dream On the other day, I had to write this one down.

Early in high school my best friend spent the night. We came up with a practical joke to play on my brothers, who shared the room next to me.

We snuck into their bedroom and set one of their alarm clocks to some horrible hour like 4:30 A.M., then the other to 4:33 A.M. They would be groggy when the alarms went off unexpectedly and probably have trouble determining whose alarm was whose.

We set both clocks to the hard rock station and turned the volume up.

Right on cue, the first alarm went off, and we sat out in the hall giggling hysterically because my brothers were each trying to convince the other whose alarm it was.

By the time they got it figured out, the other alarm went off, and the argument started all over again.

“It’s yours!” “No, dude, it yours!” “You turn it off!” “No, you turn it off!” “It’s yours!” “TURN IT OFF!!”

My friend and I laughed so hard. It was cruel, but cruel practical jokes were somehow a coping mechanism back then. We thought we’d played the best practical joke ever.

Well, payback can sting like an angry jellyfish with roid rage.

Not long after our triumphant prank, I was sound asleep, face down with my arms underneath me. I normally didn’t sleep on top of my arms, which is what made this even weirder. Maybe I was dreaming that I was in a luge competition.

At some viciously early hour, my alarm clock radio went off full blast, jolting me awake like a golf cart crash. I experienced a few incoherent moments of “what on earth is going on?!! Have the Russians finally invaded?!!” as my brain identified the source of the noise.

Yeah, I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes…

Oh no. Not that song. That song gets louder and louder, and the guy starts screaming.

I know it’s everybody’s sin
You got to lose to know how to win…

Steven Tyler. Aerosmith. Dream On. My dad’s going to kill me.

This was not parent-sanctioned music, but I didn’t want my dad to wake up thinking that I was trying to blow up this recent Christmas present from my grandparents anyway.

I reached over to turn the blaring radio off to find that I couldn’t feel my arms. They were both asleep!!

“Ehhhgggh, eeehhhhhhhaaaaggg, weehhh….” I grunted as I tried to whack the alarm clock with my wooden arms from my bed.

Groping around in the dark with no conscious sense of my arms wasn’t working. I’ve always had bad luck with that.

On Christmas a couple years earlier, I was exhausted and feeling my way through my bedroom to my bed. I touched what I thought was the headboard, and let myself go limp, thinking I was collapsing onto relaxing, restful softness.

The bridge of my nose smacked the footboard so hard I’m amazed I didn’t break my nose. I had an attractive blue line across it though.

Back to the alarm clock radio:

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears…

In desperation, I decided to do what any rational, intelligent young adult with an expert sense of crisis management would do. I bit my left index finger hard until I could feel pressure, thinking that would restore feeling in one of my hands.

It didn’t work.

Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream until your dreams come true…

Steven Tyler was just getting warmed up. He hadn’t gone up an octave into “my podiatrist is amputating one of my toes without anesthesia” voice yet.

Why I picked the finger I had smashed between a mallet and a metal plate in shop class, I still don’t understand. Panic, I guess.

Dream on, dream on, dream on,
Dream until your dream comes through…

My anxiety was at a fever pitch and all of my armless tactics proved to be ineffective. Oh no, the voice…

Dream on, dream on, dream on,

I was in trouble now. I launched myself from my mattress, wrapped myself around the screaming appliance, and threw my whole body away from the wall to unplug it.



No angry dad? No brothers laughing to the point of tears in the hallway? Did anyone actually wake up?

A strange, dull burn in my hand redirected my attention. Feeling had started to come back into my arms by this time, and I noticed that my finger hurt a little. Oh wow, not just a little. A lot.

As my nerves powered back up, my finger started to throb. It hurt terribly. Because I couldn’t feel how hard I was biting, I’d chomped down much harder than I thought I did.

It hurt for awhile. At that point of my life I gained an excellent understanding of what dentists go through every day. I also understand why some kids use biting as a defense mechanism.

Most of the practical jokes we played growing up did not involve unnecessary bodily injury. And that wasn’t the intention of the KISW Alarm Clock Radio Incident.

But for all of you younger readers tempted to try this at home, please consider that your siblings might make unwise decisions while they are half-asleep, and typing with only nine fingers really stinks.

It also hurts when you point at people. You can’t really tell someone not to do something unless you point at them, right?

Choose your battles wisely, happy campers. You never know how badly they might come back to bite you.


If you’re robbing a bank and your pants fall down, I think it’s okay to laugh and to let the hostages laugh too, because, come on, life is funny. –Jack Handey

©2010 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

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