Dear Cumasicchiama,

Where do I begin? Coming out of left field like this, I only hope that you will be able to help me.

I had a dream and it has shaken me. I need to find out what it all means. So I come to you, Don Cumasicchiama, to ask you this favor: interpret my dream. Put my troubled mind to rest, I beg you. Though I’ve been underground all these years, I could no longer remain quiet. Here now, I will reveal the dream to you, for to hold it any longer within me would be, no doubt, a very dangerous (and foolish) thing to do.

In my dream, I am a member of a high school English department. I find myself in a room with my colleagues. We are gathered together to do our end-of-the-term grading, but as I sit down to begin, I realize that instead of marking essays I am being asked to grade chicken sandwiches. I take a bite out of one but suddenly feel the shame of someone who has made a terrible mistake, for I quickly realize that I am not to eat the sandwich to determine a grade but to visually examine it. The entire room is bathed in a strictness emanating from our leader, someone by the name of Fran. Quickly I grab another chicken sandwich, this time lifting the top piece of bread and examining with eyes only the slices of chicken. I give it an 8. I figured it looked pretty good. I select another sandwich, this time jotting down a 6. It looked dry and a bit too processed. Yet I’m feeling a bit uneasy about the grade I gave. Was I being fair? Did I really know what I was doing? At this point, an old friend and former co-worker, Alan Ascher, who actually did grow up on a chicken farm in southern New Jersey, appears before me,saying, “ It’s okay, just grade it. It’s all meaningless anyway.”

And then I woke up.

What does it all mean? I must know. So I ask you, my friend, are you ready to do me this service? I want you to use all your powers – and all your skills. I don’t want anyone to see me this way: so dazed, so confused.

Anxiously awaiting an answer,

Lamont Bridges


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