Suicide Dreams

02/03/2011 06:25 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

I had the most incredible dream recently. It is rare for me to actually remember a dream. This one lasted for what seemed like hours, and I can still vividly recall details.

This dream, in many ways, was a composite of my life. Some of you have gone through the semi-nightmarish incident of walking into a final exam and realizing you had forgotten to attend that class. Or, climbing down a cliff, where sometimes you actually fell.

This one of mine had all of those, sprinkled with my mindset today, plus the 1998 movie, What Dreams May Come, with Robin Williams. In this film, Williams ends up in Heaven, and I particularly flash back to brilliant hues, and, in particular, a blue jacaranda tree, the second favorite of my wife Pearl. There is a gender reversal, but the coincidencies are obvious.

The stimulus for my dream might have been catalyzed from a discussion I had that day. An edgy few at a reception touched on how best to end your life. A case was made for a Kevorkian type conclusion.

My dream began with my wife and I being dropped off on Kalakaua Avenue a block away from the front of the Waikiki Sheraton, with our bags to be delivered to the bell desk. This is only a five-minute walk, but here is where irrationality began to dominate. First, this was Waikiki of the future. The whole environment was new and sparkling. If I'm prescient, there is hope for our tourist industry.

Pearl was in a particularly happy frame of mind and wanted to have a drink at an outdoor bar. So I remember sitting in a very high chair, we each ordered something, and I temporarily dozed off. I immediately awoke, but she was not sitting next to me. So I wandered around the shops looking for her. Hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists were joyously strolling throughout Waikiki.

I then came to a conclusion that she probably went ahead and took the initiative to check in to our room. I thus hurriedly made it to the hotel but could not find the lobby. I asked a staffer, and he said that I was in the extreme Ewa end of the resort and pointed me in the right direction. This Sheraton of the future was huge, perhaps as large as Waikiki itself today. I seemingly got nowhere, so again I inquired. An individual in uniform said he would show me the way. After another series of mazes, he began climbing down a long ladder. Against my normal judgement, for I didn't know if I had the capability to follow him, I took this chance.

Then came a singularly memorable moment. Halfway into my descent, wondering why I was doing this, I suddenly realized that Pearl had passed away last year. This was the very first time in my recollection that my sleeping mind accepted that she had died.

We finally got to the bottom, and a very long time later, with minor incidents and sometimes outlandish scenes, we finally made it to what I was told was the lobby. He asked me to sit in a comfortable chair and would find someone to help me. A waitress was carrying a tray of mai-tais, which, apparently, were free, so I accepted a fancy glass with an orchid on top.

Suddenly, a very important person whom I could not quite identify came rushing up and expressed infinite pleasure to see me, for my talk was only 45 minutes away and they were worried that I was not going to show up because the conference was being televised internationally and I was one of the keynote speakers. Maybe a billion would be watching. What? I had to give a speech and did not know about it?

It was determined that I should change into appropriate attire and was thusly hustled to my room, which was larger than anything I have ever experienced, with furnishings that were uber luxurious. I took a quick glance through the picture window and saw what must have been Waikiki Beach, but it was a couple of thousand feet down and barely visible. I might have even seen a rainbow. Thank goodness I delicately chanced to ask about the subject of my talk, and, showing obvious incredulity, they said it was on suicide. What? I don't know anything about the subject.

After getting dressed, we quickly made it to the back stage of an auditorium, at which time I noticed I was dressed in white with a kimono, not with a sword, but a dagger. I came to a startling conclusion that I was being set up to commit hara-kiri, a ritual suicide. So that was why there was to be a global audience. I wondered what else was on the program. It was a couple of times emphasized that I only had a time slot of 15 minutes.

I walked on stage, looked out, and the assembly hall reminded me of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, but much bigger, and it was filled with people. There was no podium but a kind of mat. In the background the technicians were playing "Suicide Is Painless," that theme song from "M*A*S*H."

So what did I do? There was no panic. No real decision to make, I simply lectured on suicide, mentioned Jack Kevorkian and the fact that the co-writer of the song was the son of the "M*A*S*H" movie director, Robert Altman. Mike Altman made more than a million dollars for his efforts, while his father was only paid $70,000. I can B.S. on anything for 15 minutes. I certainly was not going to kill myself, although I kept looking behind me, for the traditional Japanese seppuku (also known as hara-kiri) ceremony involves an attendant who chops off your head with a sword at the moment you are supposed to plunge the dagger into your abdomen.

I vaguely recall some thunderous applause at the end of my presentation, whereby I then left the stage, although there was some general turmoil that followed, things got definitely foggy -- I suspect there was a whole series of adventures that I could not remember -- but the final scene was of the organizers graciously thanking me for my grand performance when I woke up. This was a very happy ending indeed.