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On Sunday, I had a dream in which Joel McHale worked in some sort of clothes hospital.

Allow me to explain what a clothes hospital is.  It looked like a hospital until you got to the examination rooms, and there it became a sort of upscale clothing boutique with dressing rooms with really low doors so you could see people’s heads and talk to them while they were changing, and the whole point was that the patients were being helped by people to find clothes that worked for them – or, alternately, to tailor clothes they already owned so they fit better.  I remember there was a demonstration when I arrived where they were putting people in what were apparently really fashionable clothes that fit TERRIBLY, so that they could then put them in similar clothes that actually fit and worked with their body types, all to prove that the people’s bodies weren’t “wrong” or bad or ugly or socially unacceptable, but that the CLOTHES were.  It was kind of What Not to Wear, but much more therapeutic, with no snark*, no agenda, and totally body-positive/about the individuals self-esteem and personal taste instead of other people’s perceptions of the person.  (I think the fact that people came to the “hospital” of their own accord without any damaging, self-esteem/trust-destroying pressure from “friends” setting them up helped a lot with this perception.)

I was there looking for the name of a dance move where, in a salsa-esque dance, circular motions are vaguely indicated in front of the lower torso in a manner that sort of looks a little like the way movies show us women are pregnant by having the actresses place their hands on their bellies (IT MADE SENSE IN MY HEAD).  While I was there, Retta was in one of the fitting rooms, and we had a brief exchange.

The reason I was researching this question – and the reason McHale wasn’t there while I was doing so – is because I was, unbeknownst to McHale, helping him out with a joke for The Soup while he edited Land Before Time fanfiction.  See, in my dream, he was a prolific – and viciously honest – editor who worked exclusively on LBT fic in his spare time, and he was (under a pseudonym) extremely well-known and sought-out in LBT fandom for his brutal commentary.  I was under the impression that I was one of only a very small group of people who knew it was him.

After speaking briefly with Retta and discovering that she did not know the name of the dance move I was after, I went out to the reception area, where I was asked by the receptionist if I knew where McHale was.  I said something slightly evasive about him being busy and unlikely to come in that day because I didn’t think I needed to tell his coworkers that he was editing LBT fanfiction.  The receptionist then told me that he was asking because he had a LBT personality quiz that McHale had edited and just TORN APART, and he was afraid that McHale now thought he was stupid and things would be awkward.  I explained to him how I had witnessed McHale’s editing process, and how he never spoke badly of the writers who submitted things to him (or even about the submissions themselves), and he always seemed honored to get the opportunity to critique things and help people grow as writers**.  The receptionist seemed to feel better about himself and his relationship with McHale at that point.

And at that point, despite the fact that I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep after an all-nighter, my brain decided I needed to wake up because, seriously, I just had a dream in which Joel McHale edited Land Before Time fanfiction, and in which The Land Before Time was fundamental enough to be called "LBT."


* Even though Joel McHale worked there. WE WILL GET TO THIS.

** Awake!me, who isn’t being manipulated by close proximity to McHale’s forearms and charming-in-the-slightly-sinister-use-of-the-word personality, of course finds this an unacceptable argument, since it doesn’t matter HOW MUCH SMILING an editor does while critiquing something, if the feedback is a page entirely covered in emotionless red marks that uniformly make people feel bad about themselves and their writing, that’s not really constructive.  But see above re: forearms and charmingness /my being in Totally Illogical Dreamland at the time.

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