Lots of people have nightmares. I do. So what? I've never covered that up. I told you about the one in which I work for The Dallas Morning News and I have to go in every day and write positive stories about the Perot family.
But here's the thing: people like me who have bad dreams sometimes? We also have good dreams. Wonderful fantasy dreams. That's the payoff. Bad dreams, good dreams. So last night I had a really sweet dream in which they chose me to be superintendent of schools in Dallas. No idea why. They just call me up. "Jim, get down here. We need you to be the super."
"Figures," I think to myself. But first, being a journalist by trade, I also figure I'd better do a little research. I want to see what I'd be walking in on.
It's easy to do. The state has a web page. So in my dream I go and I look up DISD. Let's see here. According to the Texas Education Agency, I will be the super over 157,095 students. Cool. That's huge. And exactly what kind of kids will I have on my hands here?
All right. The percentage of DISD students who are "economically disadvantaged" (correctspeak for poor) is ... uh ... looking down the column of numbers here ... 96.1 percent. Wow. You're kidding me. What is the percentage for Texas as a whole? It's 60.4 percent.
So how do I do the math on that? Trying to figure. Went into journalism because of certain challenges. Especially tough to do while dreaming.
It looks like kids in the Dallas school system are ... I'm trying to a ratio here in my dream ... well, they're what I would call way way poorer than most kids in Texas. The kids in my school system are 24.4 percent black, 69.7 percent Hispanic, 4.7 percent white, and the rest are the rest.
So I will be superintendent of schools over a huge student body of poor minority kids. Well, wait just a minute. How much money are they going to give me to take care of all these poor minority kids? I can't do it out of my own pocket. Oh my God! Look at this. DISD has a budget of $1.25 billion annually, $760 million of it from local property taxes.
That's so much money, you can't even count it. It's so much money, if a million dollars just flew out the window by accident, nobody would even notice. Or care. It's so much money, it's like it's not even real money any more. It's more like a big general sweetness in the air, a money-like happiness. I keep hearing the gentle noise of a babbling brook in my dream, like I'm floating on a river of money.
I'm rich! I made it! I'm in the chips at last! You know what's weird? I feel like I'm in the movies. I need to get down there to school headquarters today and start handing out the orders. I'll float down there on my own babbling brook of money-sweetness.
First thing I will tell them, "Call all my old buddies back where I worked before and offer them jobs at twice what they're making now." And don't tell me about personnel policies and posting jobs and shit. I'm rich! I'm the king of the River Sweetness, the boss of the water. You can't talk to me like that, chump. I don't need no stinking policies and procedures. Where's my limo canoe? Where's my driver-paddler? I'm ready for my close-up. I am floating, man!
What should they call my movie? Waiting for Jim Schutze. Who should play me? Well, me! Who better? I'm the Dallas super. I'm a movie star now. You know what's weird? I feel like I'm high. This is a GREAT dream.
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Show me the cash drawer. WOW! How much is in there? You're kidding! Hey, give some money to my friends. C'mon, just reach in there and get the cash and give some of it to my friends. Tell them it's from "The Sweetness." They'll know.
My driver is paddling me down the babbling brook of sweetness to a party now. Wow, this is the fanciest party I've ever been to. In real life I might be intimidated, but not in this dream. This is a wonderful dream. Whose house is this? It's a castle, man. Oh, you're kidding me. This is the home of Ross Perot Jr. At last I arrive!
I can't wait to get in there. I'm going to march in there and tell him, "Hey, Perot, you don't show me shit! I am the super, man, the king of the poor kids! I don't have to write favorable stories about you any more for the News. I am the news!"
What? Oh, hell, she's waking me up. She's wrecking my dream. What? Toilet? Toilet running all night? Damn! I have to fix it? I'm right on the verge between sleep and dreaming. I see 100,000 kids going down the toilet. Nasty. Better do what she says. I can tell when a good dream's about to go south.