The Dream

Today I had a dream. I was in class where I and my classmate were chosen to be examined. Once seated in front of the teacher we got our questions. She accidentally saw mine and made a funny remark about it. I did not get it at first and so I just smiled in a general way. Since in real life she is used to me getting her jokes she immediately explained it to me. Only then did I understand it and had a good laugh.

The Question

How can I not get a joke made de facto by myself (even though on behalf of someone else) in a dream?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to this stack. Very interesting! However, we do expect questions to be based on limited initial research here (e.g., an article clarifying this is a more common phenomenon, not an isolated case you encounter). To help with this, I suggest generalizing it, i.e., do you think there is a real reason to focus specifically on 'not getting jokes'? It makes a nice example, but try to phrase it as a general question. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    May 19, 2018 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ One possibility: did you remember the actual joke, or only the notion there was a joke you did not get? Thinking back on similar dreams I had, I believe it is typically the 'feeling' associated with the experience you recall and not concrete things. Without trying to remember the concrete, it 'feels' like there was an actual joke. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    May 19, 2018 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris Thank you for the warm welcome! Now that I think about it, in order to understand the joke I had to recall a specific situation in the past (which my classmate had reminded me of). Shall I rephrase this question or delete it and ask a new one? $\endgroup$
    – user19334
    May 19, 2018 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @StevenJeuris I am pretty sure I knew what the joke was about immediately after waking up, but I don't remember it now precisely. But maybe it was just a feeling, I am not 100% sure. $\endgroup$
    – user19334
    May 19, 2018 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ This question itself is pretty hilarious. ^_^ $\endgroup$ May 20, 2018 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


It maybe the joke was the dream-equivalent of a MacGuffin, a fuzzy, unimportant placeholder that wasn’t materialized into actual language, and that the point of the scene was to experience awkwardness, embarrassment, inferiority or exclusion that others had the upper-hand with in-group knowledge unavailable to the subject?

It would fit that what seems real in a dream isn’t necessarily real... that the idea of certainty came from the dream while waking up, but the actual content of that certainty likely never existed.

  • $\begingroup$ No, the joke was not built on me not being able to answer the question. It was targeted at me, but not in the offensive way. I was actually flattered in the way: "hey, you you actually remember this?". Now, whether it was materialized into actual language - I think it was. I can't be 100% sure though. $\endgroup$
    – user19334
    May 19, 2018 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ I swore someone crashed into the wall in my bedroom. There was no one there and there was no logical source of it. Not even Casper or Slimer. I thought it was very real and woke up, but I’m completely convinced now I dreamt it due to Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS). But you see, the feeling of real, surreal or dream is itself a manifested feeling that can also be dreamt. Furthermore, the brain doesn’t wake up entirely and instantly... some parts are pressing an imaginary snooze button while taking a final exam naked while other parts are woke to the real world and ready for coffee. $\endgroup$
    – dhchdhd
    May 19, 2018 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ How can we find out whether we really dreamt the thing or whether we just had a certain feeling and later on made up the story to cause that feeling? Sometimes when I wake up I do have certain feeling and recal a fuzzy situation from dream (which later on somehow gets more and more detailed). Other times, including this one, I actually recall the situation more concretely with actual people and vivid images of them and the environment. $\endgroup$
    – user19334
    May 19, 2018 at 11:25