In my real life I proofread children’s books, and the other night I dreamt that I was thumbing through the just-published pages of one of them. It’s something that’s coming out–in real life!–this next season: a cute, fun rhyming book about girl power. In my dream I glanced at the text on one page and I saw the word “diet” in one of the verses. I thought, what the hell is that doing there?! Right in the middle of this rhyming list of ostensibly awesome things girls do was the word diet.
I thought, oh God, I hope nobody complains about that, and then I flipped through some more pages and saw it again, in some upbeat and horrifyingly wrong line like, “Go girl! You eat your diet food, uh-huh!” I got a terrible sinking feeling and thought, this is awful! People are going to hate this! They’re going to write angry letters and scream and get all pissed off and they’d have every right to do so, of course, because somehow I overlooked the appalling fact that the word DIET was in a book for little girls. In the dream, the authors themselves weren’t responsible; somehow the word just crept in there on its own, and I’d failed to see it because I am a dreadful person with obviously twisted notions of girlhood. And so, of course, I might as well have inserted the word since I was just as guilty for not deleting it. I am so dead, I thought.
Then I woke up and remembered that in real life, the book does not have the word “diet” in it anywhere, for Christ’s sake. Little girls will read it and they might just grow up normal, and if they don’t, it won’t be my fault.