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I've decided there are only 12 types of dreams - here they are

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Gary Ogden
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THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 12

Nothing quite like settling down for a nice old dream, is there? Lying down, doing a sleep and dreaming that you can fly. I love it. Sure, sometimes it’s a nightmare, and in that case it’s not fun, is it, but most of the time it’s a grand old day at the fair.

That’s the thing about dreams, ain’t it? There are endless possibilities. A never-ending list of potential scenarios and adventures - the sky’s not even the limit, because anything is possible. Want to go invisible? Sorted. Care to ride a dinosaur? You got it. Fancy seeing all your loved ones die brutally in front of your very eyes? Oh boy, we got ya buddy.

But if we’re being straight with each other here: regardless of the seemingly endless list of potential situations, all dreams fall into their own very specific categories. Your brain might be an impossible miracle, but it’s still only really capable of having 12 dreams. I have decided that there are only 12 types of dreams, and these are them:

  • 1. The OH NO I'VE FORGOTTEN THAT THING dream

    There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here

    This is a universally-shared frequent offender. You’ve forgotten about something, haven’t you? Dunno what it is yet though, not until you’re having a nice, normal time (which, it must be said, is incredibly suspicious), and then WHAM! It hits you! You’ve got a GCSE maths exam in the morning and you haven’t revised for it. Doesn’t matter that you are literally a 30-year-old man and haven’t done an exam in about eight years, you’ve got to whip the books out, mate, or you’re gonna fail!

    But sorry, you don’t actually have any time to revise because you’re already at school. The living room you were in is school now. And guess what, buster? YOU AIN’T EVEN GOT ANY PANTS ON NEITHER!

  • 2. The HI I’M YOUR BRAIN AND I’M GOING TO TEASE YOU WITH THIS THING THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO AND THEN JUST AS YOU’RE ABOUT TO DO IT, I’M WAKING YOU UP, BUDDY dream

    There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 4

    I remember one dream I had as a child: oh my goody gumdrops, you should have seen the state of this waterslide. All I wanted to do was plummet down that big boy, trunks hoofed up, endorphin levels at an all-time high - THIS GIGANTIC SLIDE WAS THE BEST THING I HAD EVER SEEN.

    But hey, that would be too easy, wouldn’t it? Me actually getting a go on the monster slide? Wouldn’t have thought so. I saw the great big fun factory, but instead of actually sliding down it into the crystal-clear waters below, I’m in the queue for about three hours, its mammoth promise of unrivalled fun looming over me, prodding me: “Wouldn’t you like to slide down me, little boy? Go all fast and then skim across the water at the bottom? Have the best time ever?” This slide was the biggest tease in history.

    Thankfully, I did actually reach the summit eventually. Shame then, that the minute I stepped foot on the top I fucking slipped and fell to my immediate death, before jolting awake in the middle of the night, a potential victim of a screeching early-onset child heart attack.

  • 3. The I AM DOING AN EXTREMELY MUNDANE THING EVEN THOUGH MY BRAIN HAS THE CAPACITY TO DREAM ABOUT LITERALLY ANYTHING dream

    There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 3

    That brain of yours, up there, nestled snugly in your thick head, has the capability to create any image, any impossible notion, a cascading onslaught of the most unfathomable experiences and incomprehensible adventures. So let’s do half an hour of hoovering then. Let’s just plop you down on a stool, and spend 90 minutes trying to get some thread through a needle. Spaceships? Zombies? Going invisible? Nope, you’re watching a Pot Noodle spin around in a microwave. Sorry, you’re as boring in this make-believe world of endless possibilities as you are in the real one.

    I have a recurring dream (too often for my liking, far too often) where I’m playing solitaire. My brain has randomly generated a game of solitaire and I’m clicking and dragging my way to the end of it. Which never comes, obviously. This game makes no sense - it can’t - but I still play it, sitting there in front of my computer, enduring it for an eternity, crying, just like I did that one time when I played it awake. Fucking solitaire. If that’s not a damning indictment on the current state of my life, I don’t know what is.

  • 4. The YOU WRONGED ME IN MY DREAM AND NOW I HATE YOU IN REAL LIFE dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here

    The great thing about dreams is that they’re really good at getting people’s faces right. This ain’t no Madame Tussauds uncanny valley horror show - people look like they do in real life. As such, when someone personally wrongs you in some way, the look on their smug face is highly realistic. It stays with you as they twist the knife, and due to the brain’s very helpful capability for remembering very specific dreams, it follows you into the real world, too. 

    As such, when you bump into Steve from accounts in the flesh, that evil grimace he pulled is all you can see. Stephen is your enemy now, and you hate him. You shall not be entertaining his nonsense any longer, he has been cut, and he did absolutely nothing wrong, the bastard.

  • 5. The I DID SOMETHING BAD IN MY DREAM AND EVEN THOUGH I’VE NOW WOKEN UP AND DISCOVERED NOTHING WAS REAL I’LL STILL FEEL GUILTY ALL WEEK dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 1

    This is the opposite of the previous dream, yet still entirely similar. You did something bad last night, and you’re not proud of it. Did you cheat on your girlfriend? Steal your best mate’s life-savings? Kill someone and dump their body under a bridge? Put your bag on the empty seat next to you on the bus?

    Well you’re taking that to work today, wiseguy. And if the real-life counterpart of your deception or hurt is anywhere near you at any point, you better believe they aren’t getting a jot of eye contact from you. You’re looking straight down at your left foot, swiveling about on its toes so it is, whenever they’re close-by.

    Before you know it you’ll have done something drastic to win them over, like bought them a Snickers and left it on their desk at lunch. Why are you suddenly transferring them £200 anonymously? Oh god you’ve paid off their parents’ mortgage. You’ve handed yourself into the police. Your life is over. You’re sorry! Sorry you ever got on that bus!

  • 6. The OH OK THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO DIE dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 2

    I got eaten by a half wolf/half crocodile once. It was in the corridors of a hospital, and it had somehow escaped and was on the loose (could a half wolf/half crocodile be on anything other than ‘the loose’?). Unfortunately for me, I got caught in its path, and it ate me. I felt myself being eaten alive, and it was genuinely one of the most distressing moments of my entire life.

    Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, at the point that my head was in its neck, the ‘camera’ zoomed out and my swiftly ascending soul watched as my own very-cherished skull was crushed underneath its powerful hybrid jaws. I know what it feels like to actually die, is what I’m saying, and it’s really shit.

  • 7. The I JUST BRUSHED A SCAB OFF MY KNEE IN BED AND MY BRAIN HAS INCORPORATED THIS PAIN INTO MY DREAM AND NOW MY LEG’S ON FIRE dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 3

    “Oh my god guys! I felt actual pain in my dream last night! I think I’m a ghost.”

    Feel pain in a dream and it is required by law that you tell everyone in the immediate vicinity. Which is what I duly did the day after my Battle Royale-style dream in which a classmate pushed me into a fire. A sharp sting of pain genuinely shot through my leg, and when I woke up, there was blood in the bed. Obviously, magic was now real and I immediately hired an exorcist.

    Turns out I’d just rubbed a scab off, but my doting brain had incorporated it into my dream. Still, I didn’t mention that part, for I was a wizard now and had been to the other side - I’m not having ‘science’ ruin my career as a freelance medium. 

  • 8. The COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE BUT NOTHING SEEMS WEIRD ABOUT IT AT THE TIME dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 8

    Imagine if you were in the pub with your mates, and you flew to the bar to get the drinks. You lifted off the actual ground and soared above everyone’s heads and landed at the bar again. Can you imagine the reaction you would get? People would faint, the entire bar would be screaming - like, this is destroying everyone’s perception of what is natural and comprehensible.

    Do that in a dream though (which I have done), and nobody bats an eyelid. The barman is a horse, too, by the way. And the pub is upside down, in space, and underwater. Also it’s set out exactly like your bedroom. And you can speak Spanish. But hey, just a normal Tuesday! No need to literally wet your pants under the immense fear and confusion that would hammer your bladder under this very specific and extremely disorientating set of shocking circumstances. Another round of beer lads! THE BEER IS BLOOD!

  • 9. The I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND/BOYFRIEND dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 7

    A friend of mine once went to text his girlfriend after a long day at school - she’ll make me feel better, oh God I love having a girlfriend, he thought. At least he did until he couldn’t find her number in his phone, or even remember her name, because oh yeah she was a goddamn dream and she didn’t exist.

    No, you’re not actually going out with Jennifer Lawrence, it turns out. Weird that, that she didn’t head to Balham and watch her own film with you in your gross bedroom, isn’t it? She wasn’t actually clasping your hand tightly, fingers intertwined, sessioning Cheestrings with you in a shed? Strange that, how peculiar, what a curious anomaly.

    Nope, you’ve woken up, and yep, sorry to break it to you: you’re alone.

    (See also: The I DIDN’T FANCY YOU IN REAL LIFE BUT WE WERE GOING OUT IN MY DREAM AND NOW I’M GENUINELY IN LOVE WITH YOU dream)

  • 10. The SEXY dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 9

    You have never had sex like this, because this is not how sex works. What is that doing there? How come they’re on your back? Why are we floating? Woah woah woah why do you have my actual face? Don’t touch me with that - it’s like E.T.’s finger. WHY ARE THERE BATS EVERYWHERE?

    *wakes up*

    Oh, not again!

    *laughter*

    This segment was filmed in front of a live studio audience

  • 11. The I WAS VERY GOOD AT THAT THING IN MY DREAM AND NOW I HAVE FOOLISHLY ATTEMPTED IT IN REAL LIFE EVEN THOUGH I AM HIGHLY UNQUALIFIED dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 10

    I think the dream I have the most - genuinely at least once every two weeks - is the one where I can do that lean thing that Michael Jackson does in Moonwalker. You know, where he grabs his hat and leans forward towards the ground - you remember, because the first time you saw it it blew your stupid brain all the way to the Hubble telescope.

    Well, first time I had that dream, in primary school, I woke up 100% convinced I could do it in real life. It only occured to me that I, in fact, could absolutely not, once I’d already gathered a crowd in the playground to show them.

    Just stood there like an absolute melon, didn’t I? What on hell’s green bogey am I supposed to do now? I have lied to my peers. My schoolyard reputation is in tatters.

    Ended up just falling forward and disguising it as a joke. Think I got away with it. Wasted everyone’s time, sure, but at least my reputation wasn’t ruined. What a smooth criminal!

  • 12. The MY ENTIRE HOUSE IS OVERRUN BY RABID CATS AND I AM IMPALING THEM THROUGH THE BACK WITH A PITCHFORK dream

    THIS ONE There are only 12 types of dreams, so I have helpfully listed them here 11

    Think this one might just be me.

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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