719: Brain Worms

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Brain Worms
Hey, it says here that if you dream about your teeth falling out, it means they're spreading.
Title text: Hey, it says here that if you dream about your teeth falling out, it means they're spreading.


This is another comic in the My Hobby series. Cueball is tricking Megan by pretending to read from a book about a parasitic brain worm, describing the apparent symptoms caused by an infection. The dreams described sound extremely specific, which leads Megan to believe that since she has been having these types of dream, she must be infected. The comic text asserts that these types of dream are fairly common however, and this knowledge can be leveraged to trick people who aren't aware of this.

Dream contents are likely to be affected by many factors, however because people share common thoughts, feelings and experiences in waking life, it is unsurprising that our dreams share common features. In the case of the comic, cars are a ubiquitous feature of life for most people,[actual citation needed] and for many driving or being a passenger in a car is a regular experience. It is therefore to be expected that cars are likely to feature in dreams. What is less logical, but still common is there being something strange about the situation. The car may be huge, tiny, backwards, upside-down, flying, underwater, non-descript, etc. The examples given in the comic are typical of the 'unusual factor' reported in dreams.

Some people believe (to varying degrees) that dreams may be interpreted as a representation of a person's thoughts, emotions, or their subconscious. One of the more generally accepted interpretations of dreams involving driving or riding in a car, is that it expresses how you feel about your control over your own life. A dream about not fitting or not being comfortable in a car might be interpreted as the dreamer feeling out-of-place or uncomfortable in their own life, while dreams about losing control of a car might indicate the dreamer feels their life is out of control.

Megan of course does not have an infection from these fictional brain worms. Cueball is taking a "shot in the dark", with the success of his trick relying on Megan recognising these dream types as ones she has experienced. He may be playing on fears possibly carried by many people that these types of dreams hold a deeper significance which they can't identify. In the comic, Megan appears not to realize that he is pulling a prank on her and begins to get scared. Common dreams are also discussed in 1943: Universal Dreams.

The title text continues the joke with another common dream, this time about teeth falling out. One commonly accepted meaning of teeth falling out is a loss of confidence or power in one's life.


[Megan sits at a computer desk, and Cueball stands near her holding a book.]
Cueball: Weird-this parasitic worm infects the brain, damaging the areas responsible for spatial reasoning in dreams. Signs of infection include dreams about not fitting in your car comfortably, driving from the backseat, or veering all over the road.
Megan (thinking): Oh God.
My Hobby: Taking advantage of the fact that some specific dreams are weirdly common, but not everyone who has them realizes this.

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I'd like to actually try that. Does anyone know where you can find statistics on most common dreams? 20:19, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Kinda expected to find it here :-) This is a list that seems plausible, but it is not exactly scientific study: http://www.thecrazyfacts.com/top-10-common-dreams-meanings/10/

Falling is probably the most common, I have experienced it many times. On the other hand, I have never dreamed of being naked in front of people, although it is supposedly very common. 09:36, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

I took a stab at expanding the description as requested. If it looks good to you guys feel free to remove the incomplete tag! Domino (talk) 15:57, 22 June 2015 (UTC)Domino

I have had this exact dream, anyone else? Also, when seeing the movie "Inside Out", I was shocked to find that I had the exact same dream that Riley had about the dog. I wondered if they also consulted some list. One common theory about dreams is that they are the brain defrag-ing while you sleep, which is why you dream of recent events and random things, and why your memory starts to go when you don't sleep. (This is another theory supported by "Inside Out" :D) 08:33, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Inside Out? I don't remember that plot, but I'm just going to assume it's from Part II or Part III:
ProphetZarquon (talk) 22:21, 18 January 2018 (UTC)