Almost all dreams are symbolic manifestations of some real-life issue you’re experiencing, but I always figured that my childhood boxer-dog nightmare, which I wrote about yesterday, was just a run-of-the-mill kid’s dream. I was only six or seven at the time, so what buried issue could I have been dealing with? I always figured the boxer dogs were just standard-issue goblins.

The dream was about sitting in a jail cell and waiting to be prepared as a main course in a gourmet meal. The chefs were two boxer dogs, standing on their hind legs and wearing starched white aprons. One of them was carrying a large silver tray with all kind of knives laid out, and one of them was narrating the dream like a cooking-class instructor, explaining very precisely how I was to be prepared with just the right sauces and spices.

The meaning hit me this morning, and it was like the clouds parted. The boxer dogs were my parents, talking in a careful, restrained, soft-spoken manner about how to prepare me for life, for school, for the coming regimentation that every kid has to submit to in order to find his/her place in society and therefore survive. The knives on the big silver trays were lessons, books, rules, admonishments, wagging fingers, do’s and don’ts. This was exactly what I was going through as I was starting school at age seven. The regimented aspects were obviously getting to me.

Wow…I finally figured it out.