It’s Sunday at the Masters, and I’m in the final pairing and tied for the lead. As I walk up the 18th fairway, the crowd begins to cheer, and I remove my hat. Not a ball cap covered in logos, mind you, but rather a tweed driving cap, of the sort Sean Connery wore in The Untouchables. In fact, my entire outfit is unsponsored. My slim-cut shirt is free from the emblems of insurance companies or golf ball manufacturers. And my golf bag, which I am carrying myself, is a small, unadorned cylinder of soft brown leather. I am not a pro, but rather an amateur plucked from obscurity. How I got to Augusta National doesn’t matter, for now I am one putt away from the green jacket, which, unless my alarm goes off, I win by sinking a hard breaking twenty footer. The crowd goes wild.
My Masters victory is just one of many recurring dreams in which I am the hero. There’s the one in the karaoke bar, when at the end of the evening, and after much prodding, I sheepishly take the stage and belt out a magnificent version of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” hitting each one of Steve Perry’s high notes with perfect pitch. Then there’s the one about the purse-snatcher, who I successfully chase down without breaking a sweat. And of course there’s the concert where Slash slips and falls. Luckily, I am in the front row and jump on stage just in time to grab his Gibson and finish the lead to “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Or my personal favorite, the transatlantic flight where the captain falls ill and two engines fail, and I have to assist in the safe landing of the aircraft. Of course, I don’t land the plane all by myself, that would be silly, the copilot helps a little. In my dreams I know Judo, conversational French, and how to race motorcycles. I can dance like Michael Jackson, play the piano like Art Tatum, and serve like Roger Federer. I act in Broadway plays and give readings from my best-selling novels.
The trouble with being a sleeping egomaniac is that at some point you have to wake up. My daily life is quite a bit different from my dreams. While I really did once attempt to get my PGA card, I failed immediately by hitting three consecutive balls out of bounds on the first tee of the playability test. My singing voice sounds like a goose after a tracheotomy, and even on the shortest of flights, I require a sleep mask, noise-canceling headphones, and half an Ativan. I’ve never been in a ght, and I’m terrified of motorcycles. And the one time I auditioned for a play, I was promised a call back by someone who never called back.
By day, I am a self-deprecating, first-person journalist, which basically means I’m a narcissist with low self-esteem. But at night, I am what my parents always told me I could be, anything I want. So while I still have plenty of time to sign up for guitar lessons, dance classes, and flight school, I think I’ll just wait it out. Because soon the sun will set, the lights will go out, and I’ll tuck myself in and save the world. I’m not sure exactly how. Ask me in the morning.