I had a lot of nightmares as a kid.
Given that this was more or less the only traumatic thing I had to deal with as a small suburban child, I invested quite a lot of worry in it. I fretted constantly about how exactly I would confront the nightly visitations of ghouls, sharks, and natural disasters. I tried the admittedly not-very-clever technique of thinking about as many scary things as I could before falling asleep, in hopes of pre-empting my nightmares. This was about as effective as having a horror movie tailor-made to my phobias in lieu of a bedtime story, and so I endured the routine horrors of werewolf home invasions and velociraptors with guns.
Thankfully, I came upon a savior in the form of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming, for those of you unacquainted with its joys, is learning how to recognize that you’re dreaming while actually dreaming. That is, you become aware that everything happening to you is happening in your mind, and you can therefore control it.
This is every bit as fun as it sounds. It doesn’t work all the time, but when it does, it’s pretty much the best. If angry bears begin chasing you through school corridors, you can talk them down. You can do magic. Recently, I had a lucid dream in which I convinced a friend of mine, who in real life is skeptical that lucid dreaming is possible, that it is indeed possible by conjuring up a parade of celebrities on clipper ships. Yes, it was that meta.
The problem with all this is that it quite literally blurs the line between dreaming and waking, and occasionally makes me a little confused when I get up in the morning. My life can be surreal enough as is, without spending half the day re-convincing myself that I cannot solve all my problems by either flying or summoning a helpful magical friend from the ether.
At this point, you probably either think that I am going crazy, or are bored because listening to people talk about their dreams too much is invariably boring, or both. Therefore, I will discuss Rézfaszú Bagoly or as I like to call it, the Copper-Penis Owl.
The Copper-Penis Owl, apparently, is the Hungarian equivalent of the Bogeyman or the Big Bad Wolf. Little Marta doesn’t eat her peas? Janos Junior refuses to get to bed by seven? The Copper-Penis Owl will get them! If I were a Hungarian child, my nightmares wouldn’t have featured toothy monsters and savage criminals. Instead, they would have been haunted by a nocturnal bird with a metal dong.
Seriously, Hungary? Why an owl? Why copper? Why does this owl have no distinguishing features besides the composition of its genitals? Come to think of it, I’ve seen plenty of owls, but I’ve never seen an owl’s penis. Which begs the question — would I know the Copper-Penis Owl if I saw it? Have I possibly ALREADY encountered the Copper-Penis Owl? Does it bide its time, masquerading as a Normal-Penis Owl until it comes upon a recalcitrant child, at which point it — what? Exposes itself? How exactly does an owl do that?
However, I have a cunning plan to lure this insidious bird from concealment. The next time I find myself in a lucid dream, I will snap my fingers and make it appear. If it looks like a normal owl, I will feel vaguely disappointed but will continue with my reverie. And if it is, as Hungarian folklore seems to attest, a beast of truly terrifying proportions, well — I could use a good nightmare. For old times’ sake.