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Theres a major imaginary event tonight set for 7 or 7:30, somewhere
There's something big happening tonight. I know that if I don't write about it, I'll never get any sleep. You should go. - photo by Steve Eaton
I just spent the last hour and a half arguing with an imaginary person about whether I should go tonight to cover her pretend event in the real newspaper.

Im not going to tell you what the event is about because it would be politically incorrect to even suggest anyone might snub this type of gathering, even if it isnt real.

I dont know why I have these kind of dreams. Im not proud of this, but for nearly 20 years now my daytime job has been one where I have been expected to lobby real journalists to write stories about things. My daytime job has been in public relations. I just write this column on the side for the Deseret News.

I guess I should be grateful that I dont have to pitch stories in my sleep. I think the reason I revert to my former career as a print reporter is that I am still, at heart, a journalist. My father was a journalism professor who did a great job of teaching me basic principles of the trade and making me believe that reporting the news is a noble and good profession.

The truth is that most of the people who are hired to do PR have absolutely no sense for what is really news. They have no news instincts, which is probably why they have no reservations about arguing that silly things must be covered. I once had a boss, who should have known better, who said that in the news business covering ground breakings for new buildings or businesses is mandatory. I knew that editors and reporters view ribbon-cuttings as annoying and unnecessary events staged just for them.

The truth is that journalists are trained to look for a different or, at least, unusual side of something if they are to write it up. Now, if you could guarantee that the dignitary cutting the ribbon was going to be arrested immediately after the ceremonial opening for stealing money, you couldnt keep the reporters away.

I have these dreams all the time where I feel obligated to cover a news event thats not real in my sleep. Sometimes I sit up in bed, still wondering if I need to go out and interview people. Once I woke up Barbara, my wife, to ask her opinion on the matter. She was not pleased. And yet, I couldnt have been more sincere as I shook her out of her dream world.

Honey, wake up, I said. I just got a call from an editor at the paper. Theres been a murder and they need someone to cover it. Now, I know that I dont work for the paper anymore and that I didnt really get a call and that I imagined this but it really was, after all, a murder. Should I get in my car and go see if I can find it?

No! Go back to sleep, she said in a very harsh and grumpy way. It was a dream. Do not wake me up again to talk about this.

I probably shouldnt share such things in the newspaper because I know there are people who think they can analyze dreams and all these things will reveal something to them about me that I dont even know about myself. I know this because there used to be a dream expert at a newspaper where I worked. I told her one day about a funny dream I had where I was hanging out with the Clintons just before President Bill Clinton was to give a speech.

She looked at me with a very serious look and said something like: You betrayed your sister when you were young and still struggle with an uncontrollable urge to steal things, dont you?

No, I said honestly. But I felt like I had been exposed. Other reporters were moving their valuables to their cubicle drawers and looking at me suspiciously.

I guess this particular dream, which went on uninterrupted through several snooze alarm bangings, is bugging me because I knew I had to get up early today to finish my column and because I was wasting my snooze bursts on something annoying that wasnt real. Even now, I know that if I go back to sleep shell be waiting for me.

So, heres what Im going to do for her. If you know of an event tonight, imaginary or real, that you really should be going to because it is raising awareness for a cause or issue that no one would dare speak against, you should probably go. Its going to be a great event, probably the most important thing going on anywhere on the planet, and youd be crazy not to take it in. It starts at 7 or 7:30 p.m., somewhere.

There, now maybe shell stop bugging me. I have a column to write.