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Pickles Before Bedtime Great for Inducing Hockey Nightmares










Here's one from the stranger than weird file.

I don't know about anyone else, but I often dream the craziest things. As I spend lots of time thinking about hockey or music, it isn't odd for me to wake up and have dreamy recollections of being onstage, or coaching or playing my favorite game.

Often subtle details of previous days events work their way into my subconcious mind. Bits of a conversation. A thought of old friends I haven't seen in years. An insinuating fear of something totally harmless that has parlayed it's way into my sleeping state.

Upon waking up, if I do so slowly, I can usually recall much of it with vivid fragmentation. And no, I don't do and never did do drugs. I might have enjoyed them too much!

During a period of my life, years ago, I started having violence ridden nightmares that shook me awake in pools of sweat. They were occuring randomly, it seemed at first. One day I put two and two together and realized that each time this was happening, I had eaten pickles before bedtime. It sounded crazy to me, but then one night I tested the theory and woke in a cold shiver at 2 A.M. wondering where the teal coloured cows that were trying to trample me had went. That was it for pickles for me!

At a doctor's checkup a week or so later I dared ask if I was losing my mind. The good Doc replied that it made perfect sense as vinegar in pickles thins out blood. While it flows to the brain still, during the subconscious state, speeding up as it has been thinned, it leads to wild and reckless dreaded thoughts. Okay, gotcha Doc!
Recently my wife began buying these huge dills for the kids - they love 'em it seems. I warned them, scared them pretty good actually, with my tales of what they'd done to me years ago. No pickles after supertime. No problem, they said.

Why I went and ate some the other night was pure foolishness. I knew better and failed to take my own advice.
How my nightmare came about had to do with a random slice of conversation that same day that I shared with a buddy over coffee. I was bringing up some old baseball lore involving Bill Veeck and the Chicago White Sox.

Veeck, (pronounced Veck) was the owner of the Sox from the mid forties until the early eighties, I believe. He was a nutball, master of wacky promotions, and an all out lunatic. In the late seventies he'd engineered the "Disco Demolition" night between games of a doubleheader at the old Comisky Park. It led to a riot in which the astro turf ended being ripped to shreds by overzealous rockers intent on sending disco a message. Did I mention Veeck was a radical thinker.

In the earlier years of his ownership, when baseball rules were lax, he once signed a midget named Eddie Lebel (close enough!) prior to a game with the intent of using him as a pinch hitter in a bases loaded situation. Inevitably, Lebel would leave the bat squarely on his tiny shoulders to allow the winning run to walk across the plate. Lebel's strike zone was the width of the plate times the area between his knees and the letters of his jersey. Pretty much impossible to hit on a midget. Veeck's instruction to Lebel was simply "Swing once and I'll f***ing kill ya!"

When a scenario produced the intended result, fans in the stands went wild with laughter. MLB was not so amused. They fined him, changed the rule overnight, and suspended the reckless owner.

While discussing this with my buddy, the obvious question came up. Had anything like this ever occured in hockey?

A flagrant twisting of a rulebook loophole that led to such a prank being pulled on an unsuspecting league. I recalled to him tales of Roger Neilson's junior days behind the Peterborough Petes bench. Old Roger had stunts a many up his sleeve including paying kids to pelt the ice with raw eggs to delay the game, pulling goalies who would leave their sticks in the crease, and the age old ploy of purposely putting too many men on the ice in a game's dying moments while shorthanded in order to protect a lead without being further penalized. Only two calls can be served at once!

When they say Neilson was a pioneer in the game, they're not kidding!

How this all worked it's way into my thoughts while dreaming is anybody's guess!

The other night, I was quite strung out from a series of long days. I had been up for close to 20 hours and was working on a blog post while having a few beers. I started to get a headache and reached for the always trusty Advil Migraines I keep at my handy disposal. As the ache in my head was taking it's time to fade away, I realized I probably hadn't eaten a bite in almost six hours. I went to the fridge to grab something when I saw those tasty giant dills. I gobbled one down hungrily while chasing away the notion of what could happen without much thought.

About 5 A.M. that morning, I'd been asleep a whole hour maybe, when the nightmare woke me up. This time it wasn't scary by any means, just twisted beyond intelligible logic. I was sweating some, smirking a bit, and wondering where in God's notions do I get such streams of subconciousness.

I couldn't recall each singular detail but my dream originated, it seems, with the idea of a hockey Eddie Lebel. Somehow the Toronto Maple Leafs had secretly signed a player no one knew the slightest detail about. They'd kept his identity a total mystery until the Stanley Cup final against the Canadiens. This of course is so impossible for every reason imaginable, but obviously dreams are that way.

Once the Leafs quickly fell down three games to one, they unveiled their secret weapon - a 700 lb goalie they discovered chowing down donuts at a nearby Tim Horton's during the pre-season. The nameless cellulite sensation enabled the Leafs to tie the series in a short span of four days. The hero was an overnight media sensation and the press wanted to know every detail about him.

His back to back shutouts had made him front page news across the nation. The Habs were stuped for a way to beat him and pourred over every detail looking for a way to slip one by him.

As he became a media darling, corporations rushed to get him to sign endorsement deals in a scurry of behind the scenes activity. The tonage in goalie gear was not that media savvy and let it slip that enjoyed farting before players came near the crease area.

With the seventh game of the final gone into scoreless double OT, the fat stopper let what little concentration he hardly needed slip. On occasion he had developped a tendency to lift his left leg in order to rip a stinker. He noticed it was cracking up fans behing the goal who claimed they could both hear and smell the stenchy rippage from as far back as ten rows.

While entertaining them he was caught unware of a breaking two on one. He lifted the leg ready to let one go again when a shot found it's way to him. The fans screaming and yelling alerted him just in time as he fell to the ice like beached whale. He'd made the save but the puck lay resting unsmothered on the goal line. A referee behind the net, squeezed his nostrils while holding the whistle between his lips, hesistating the call the play dead. As the large man attempted to get up, a loud barking hyena like sound broke the silence. The dormant puck, breezed past the red line, a victim of a not so subtle burst of methane. The ref pointed to puck and as he was about to blow the whistle gaged and fell over.

Damnit, this where I woke up from the dream. I'd assume the Habs went on to win after the goal was declared.

I went to the washroom mirror, smirk still intact on my grin.

Geez, that was a wild dream I thought. The only thing it had to do with anything real was consistancy!