Last week I had a dream. I was in a (not Starbucks) coffee shop and across the wobbly little table from me was none other than 1970s Burt Reynolds. Full mustache. Cowboy hat. Chewing gum. Smiling at all the women sprinkled through the cafe. 

“So you’re nervous about this prostate surgery is that right?” he asks, popping the gum. 

“Well, I mean, you know … it’s going to hurt.” 

“Don’t be a pussy, Jim.” he says. 

I nearly spit out my coffee. 

“Excuse me?” I say, thinking no WAY did he actually just say that to me … a guy who has cancer. 

“Yeah you heard me,” Burt says popping his gum. He smiles and winks at a woman across the room, his teeth sparkling. 

“So that’s it? That’s why you showed up at the coffee shop in my dreams? To tell me … not to be a pussy?!” 

“Yeah that’s right [pop]. You got a problem with it?” 

Having never been a big Burt Reynolds fan, I was actually at a loss for words as to why my subconscious would even conjure him. But I didn’t have a problem with it. Burt was simply speaking the truth. 


Last night on the couch, my wife was telling me about some of the things she has to buy to help me with recovery from the surgery. I’ve mostly avoided going too far down the rabbit hole with this stuff and so she’s picked up that slack for me. And trust me when I say that the things she’s got to buy are not fun things. Anyway, as she’s telling me this my head sorta drops–as though the gravity of this is hitting me all at once. I was feeling a rare moment of self pity. That’s when my wife, who I didn’t even share the Burt Reynolds dream with, looks over at me and says with a straight face, “Don’t be a pussy.” 

I could only laugh. She never says that word. 

peace, love, all that – Jim

My Only Fear About Having Cancer
2022 Oscar Predictions

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.