September 11, 2022 • 2:30 pm

I finally managed to get a full night’s sleep last night, even though it consisted of my repeatedly surfacing to near consciousness and then diving back down to full sleep. The good news is that this alternation of states was as bracing as a full eight hours of sleep. I didn’t lie awake worrying about getting to sleep, and I awoke refreshed and full of energy.

But that’s not my point here. The point is that I had weird dreams all night, but they were all variations on the same theme: UNWANTED FISHCAKES.

The dream was this: I was with two old friends, and we were in some strange place trying to get a meal in a restaurant. But when I ordered something, I got FISHCAKES instead. The first dream, I recall, was fishcakes served with rice. And these weren’t even decent fishcakes: they were like compressed disks of gefilte fish, a fish I hate. I didn’t eat them.

I came partly awake, went back to sleep, and the dream continued. This time my friends were there, but more strange people wandered in, and we all sat down to eat. Once again I got FISHCAKES–the same odious piscine pucks–but this time with noodles on the side. Once again I rejected them, though I was hungry.

Again, I came partly awake and then dozed off. This time there were even more people, and we were in a large restaurant at a round table. We sat down, and though I didn’t order, the waiter placed a GIANT PLATTER OF FISHCAKES in front of me. I told him I didn’t like fishcakes, but that was all I could get. There must have been twenty of those noxious things on my plate.

The fishcake scenari;may have happened more than just these three times; I can’t remember. But I do remember these dreams vividly because I woke up (not fully) each time. (You usually remember the dreams that you have only right before you wake up.)

What does this dream mean? I have no idea, but since I’m not a piscivore at the best of times (I do like a good fish and chips), it would have to be classed as a nightmare.

I talked to two other friends who, without prompting, also told me that they had weird dreams last night. One was about an unhooded and unruly falcon, and the dreamer kept insisting that they put on its hood to calm it.

The fishcakes in my dream were not fried like these:

If you had a weird dream last night, please put it below.

28 thoughts on “Fishcakes!

  1. Glad to hear the Sandman corrected his address book.

    I had a dream last week wherein PCC(E) was showing a new DNA technique where the helix was able to be grasped by the hands and bent, then clicked together, watching the whole while, as a spot test for a gene. It looked cool. I think the DNA sort of lit up when it clicked back correctly.

  2. As nightmares go, that was pretty hilarious.

    I love gefilte fish – a rare excuse to slather something with horseradish.

  3. Ha! I had one of my recurring anxiety dreams last night.

    They always start in the same way. I am in a place I know well (although this doesn’t necessarily mean that, in the dream, it looks like real life), and I have to get to somewhere else that I know well. Because I have plenty of time, I decide to walk.

    Before long, I realise I’m not quite on the right route, and decide to take a short cut towards where I think the right route is. I soon realise that I’m lost, and start to panic. I try to run, but my legs are like lead (I guess this is because they actually are, ie my real body is in sleep paralysis). I realise I’m now late (I often actually dream I’m looking at my watch), and I panic even more. (I still think I recognise my surroundings, but if I recall my dream afterwards, I know that they were like nothing I have ever come across).

    Then I wake up – usually, these days, because I have to go to the loo. Afterwards, thankfully, deep sleep with no more dreams!

  4. I’ve had reason to suspect that the feeling of déjà vu can come by doing something that you had recently dreamed about. So if you later go out with friends and order fishcakes, you might now get that feeling.

    Dreams are so strange because the dream-self (that is who we are in our dreams) is always so unsurprised about the most extraordinary events. So a couple times a year my dream-self will discover that I can fly by simply willing it. As I sail over the trees, I will be thinking “oh yeah… I forgot I could do this. Huh. I guess I could always do this”. This is bc my dream-self had flown before in earlier dreams, and had truly forgotten about it! The same goes with reading minds. When I encounter someone in my dreams, their thoughts are suddenly projected into my head. All of this is experienced with barely a shrug.
    The dream-self makes a capybara seem like a raving lunatic.

    1. I have dreams where I go to shops I’ve never been to that only exist in my dreams and often think, during the dream, “oh yeah I remember this shop”.

    2. The dream-self makes a capybara seem like a raving lunatic.

      I’, not entirely sure what you mean by that, but I’m going to steal that line and somehow find a use for it.

    3. I used to have flying dreams and they were glorious, but haven’t had one in a long time. Now my dreams are boring, I’m either at work in some office or I’m driving somewhere and trying to find some store. More tedious than reality.

  5. For the last 30 years I’ve woken up exhausted no matter how much sleep I get. I’m going for my second sleep study tonight to set up a CPAP for me.

    1. I hope that a CPAP works as well for you as it did for me. My wife didn’t have to put up with my snoring anymore, I felt 10 years younger in one day and I sleep like a baby now. I used to nap every afternoon, now I nap once or twice a year.

    2. I’ve been using a CPAP over 5 years. There can still be bad nights. For some reason I awoke almost every half hour last night and I am exhausted today. Generally, I sleep better since using one.

      1. Yeah I’m not all that hopeful it’s going to be the silver bullet but I am hopeful it makes a small difference. I get, on average, 8 migraines a month & this exhausts me as well. I find the migraines the worst thing about all my various weird conditions.

    3. Like others here I can attest that a CPAP can have very positive effects. It ain’t sexy to wear a full mask, but it really helps with how I feel in the morning. It may take more than one model of machine, mask, and settings to get it right. Good luck!

  6. I suffer from the same type of insomnia. Last night I woke up about 2 am, but I did manage to get back to sleep about an hour later and got three or four more hours of more-or-less solid sleep (even if at times a sleep so close to wakefulness as to be almost indistinguishable).

    I, too, had a strange recurring dream during those three or four hours: I was dating the young Jacqueline Bouvier (the future Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Onassis) and, at other times, her sister (the socialite later known as Lee Radziwill). I don’t recall how old I was in the dream, but it was something age-appropriate. I’ll also spare you the details, but you can bet your ass it beat fishcakes. 🙂

  7. Probably like most people, I have had weird, inexplicable dreams and I have had dreams / nightmares about bad events from my past which don’t require much explaining. Recently I had a couple of dreams where I was doing a job which I have been contemplating switching to. When I woke up, it occurred to me that it was almost as if my mind had simulated the circumstances so that I could see what it might be like to do that job. I wonder whether that is what is happening in some dreams. I also wonder whether the sentence before last makes any sense!

  8. “What does this dream mean?”

    As you no doubt know, the fish has been a symbol of Christianity almost from the beginning. The Greek word for “fish” is ikhthū́s (ἰχθύς,) which the early Christians used as an acronym for “ησοῦς Χρῑστός Θεοῦ Υἱός Σωτήρ,” Iēsoûs Khrīstós, Theoû Huiós, Sōtḗr; which translates into English as “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” I think the unwanted fish cakes represent the distasteful “compressed disks” and “pucks” (essentially cow pies) that Tish Harrison Warren has been dropping on your plate week after week despite your strenuous objections. If you pray hard enough, the dream might go away. 😊

  9. Had some not especially weird involving deceased family members; forgot details. Worse, woke up twice thiking i couldn’t beathe, the first kind of panicky.

  10. All I can think of is “The Matador” dream in the novel Fail Safe.
    And Monty Python’s SPAM sketch, of course.

  11. Fresh salmon fishcake or smoked salmon fishcake…all else is folly. No nightmares if proper fish is used in fishcakes.

  12. I can’t recall a specific weird dream, but I’ve had *many* of them.

    Even today, I sometimes have dreams about not finishing my Ph.D. dissertation. In those dreams, I’m a teaching fellow, so I’m getting paid, but I’m not getting my empirical field work done. In the dream, I know that I’m never going to get it done but I don’t want to admit that to Steve Gould.

    My plan B is to put together a dissertation with only my theoretical work included, but nothing from my field work. But even then, I don’t have the entire document written, nor do I know if Steve will accept it. (In a variant of this dream, Steve is sick with cancer and may not survive, so I wonder if I’ll even have an advisor to whom to present my dissertation when I get it done. In another variant, I’ve lost my notes and can’t even complete the theoretical part. And in a third variant, I’ve submitted several papers for publication, but the editor lost them and I lost my copies, so those papers are lost—and so is my hope for completing my dissertation.)

    Anyway, in the meantime, I realize in the dream (or in a partial wake state) that I am over 6o years old and that I won’t even need to get a job even if I complete the dissertation! So, maybe I should just admit my failure and give up.

    Finally, in this recurrent dream, I wake up and realize that I *did* actually complete my dissertation successfully in real life and that I actually had a career in academia. (In fact, I had only half a career, as I left the professoriate after 13 years to go into the technology industry.)

    So, I guess I *did* remember a weird dream after all. 🙂 The weirdness is in the fact that I succeeded but the dream has me failing.

  13. As a psychologist, albeit not a Freudian, I must remind you that (to paraphrase Freud). Sometimes a fishcake is just a fishcake.

  14. I don’t often dream, but yes, I had some unusual dreams last night as well. I do think that magnetism and cosmic cycles can affect the chemistry of our bodies. Not much proof for it, just something I feel. When deciphering dreams, you have to take into account your cultural background, as well as what the dream means TO YOU PERSONALLY. Online dream dictionary describes fish as as symbolic of creative projects and fertility (which can mean productivity for work as well.) I’m also imagining (perhaps wrongly) that since you are Jewish you probably grew up reading Torah scriptures in which fish are important symbols. Fish reside in the ocean, which is also a symbol for the subconscious. MY OWN PERSONAL take on this dream is that you have thoughts/ideas or perhaps a creative project which are unsavory to you that you continue to reject, however they are beginning to rise to conscious level, causing you distress.

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