What does "bone-dry bed of reality" mean? Is that a set expression or there are even more than one embedded? In Urbandictionary.com I found that "bone-dry" is "mundane" but the rest remains unclear.

The context surrounding it: "

And let's not forget that the CIA isn't the only organization with questionable people on its payroll. Since the beginning of the war, NATO has been bribing drug smugglers to let fuel pass through the Khyber Pass from Pakistan into Afghanistan. NATO payments, thousands of dollars for each truck, have to dwarf anything the CIA is giving to Ahmed Wali Karzai.

You can take it to the bank that the CIA knows all of this, just as it knew in the early '60s that Diem's brother was a corrupt thug. You can also be certain that the CIA would prefer to have untainted sources. But the bone-dry bed of reality in Afghanistan is that there are few if any to be had. In that country, you survive by renting clans, tribes and narcotics dealers, which comes with their unsavory business whether you like it or not.


The source: TIME Why the CIA Can't Be Picky About Afghan Partners by Robert Baer

the screenshot of Time article and the phrase which needs explanation

  • While driving, try adjusting your car seat forward while gently pressing on the brakes. Your forehead will experience the bone-dry bed of reality that is the steering wheel. Do Not Try This. It Hurts! – Wayfaring Stranger Aug 12 '18 at 2:57
  • Thank you for your example. So, turning back to reality the meaning would be? – Loronzo Aug 12 '18 at 4:37
  • 1
    It's a metaphor. Also the metaphor is appropriate for Afghanistan because it is very dry there. – Mitch Aug 12 '18 at 13:41
  • Loronzo, why did you not post what you thought that might mean, and why you doubted that? Although in 60 years I've never seen, heard or otherwise come across anything remotely like "the bone-dry bed of reality" I do think it wholly reasonable to assume it means "in (strongly emphasised) reality." Why would you doubt that, please? – Robbie Goodwin Aug 12 '18 at 20:40
  • After some researh and tutorial with one native speaker (a British guy, who also teaches English as a second language abroad) this is how I understand it (and will be partially citing him): Nearly everyone in Afghanistan is involved in disreputable business and that's the mundane reality and it's as empty as in desert to look for something else or better. "It's a 'cold truth', 'harsh reality', it's completely clear that this is the only option." my English friend says. – Loronzo Aug 14 '18 at 10:49

two expressions in one phrase:

bone dry oxford

Completely or extremely dry.

bed (support) of reality (stark)

Thus the bed of reality is bone dry ... empty, no other options, stark truth.

As in:

But - the bottom line/fact is - in Afghanistan there are no untainted sources to be had.

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