I had a strange dream last night. In the dream I was attending some kind of public occasion and I became aware that the chap sitting at the next table was about to make a short speech about me. I half recognised the chap concerned, I had known him slightly about twenty-five years ago when. for a while, we taught the same course. But I had not met him for over quarter of a century and I had no idea why he was about to deliver a speech about me. For some reason I had a copy of the speech and at that point the dream "slipped" (in the way dreams do) and I was going to have to deliver the speech, written by my old acquaintance about me, myself. In quickly reading through it I was initially more concerned with presentation rather than meaning - does this say something very deep about me - and I was anxious to check to make sure there were no words which I might find difficult to pronounce. Near the end I found reference to the word "lyptechare". Searching for context I re-read the short sentence which said "In short, he is nothing but a lyptechare". My focus of attention now shifted from how the word might be pronounced to what it might mean. What was I being accused of by this one-time friend of mine? I immediately sought out a dictionary and looked the word up. When I eventually found the page it was on, Amy jumped on the bed and woke me up.
It was such a powerful dream that I immediately found some paper and wrote the word down. The dream may have been gone for ever but at least I could still investigate the message. What was being said about my character and personality? What critique of my life was contained in that short sentence? I grabbed the dictionary and quickly thumbed through it looking for "lyptechare". Nothing. Perhaps I had wrongly transcribed it. I tried various different spellings .... liptechar, lyptochare, etc. Nothing. I Googled it to see if it might be a foreign word or phrase. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
I am therefore caught in this dreadful dilemma. I know what I am. I know how history will judge me. The one thing you can say about Alan Burnett is that he was nothing but a lyptechare. But what does it mean?