2 and 1/2 Foolish Wishes
Instead I only hypothetically wasted two and came very close to wasting the third.
My preoccupation with genies and wishes began when my daughter told me about a recent in-class writing assignment. She and her fellow sixth grade students were given the scenario that they’d released a genie from a lamp and had three wishes to use in a week.
“The only rule,” my daughter explained as I was driving to her dance class, “was that we couldn’t wish for more wishes.”
“What about wishing for magical powers?” I asked.
She thought for a minute then said, “It depends on what kind of magic.” She didn’t elaborate, so we sat in silence for a few minutes.
Then I had to ask, “Well, what were your wishes?”
She turned and gave me an exasperated look. “You’re not going to write about this are you?” she asked.
I didn’t think I would, so I didn’t really lie. “Of course not,” I said.
“I wished for a rainbow-colored unicorn, a black Pegasus like Blackjack from the Percy Jackson books and telepathy,” she said.
At the time, I was simply amused by her choices, but then my imagination took hold and I began to pretend that I too had found a magic lamp with a genie who granted three wishes. I was sure my wishes would be much more meaningful and beneficial to society.
I was wrong. Despite what I thought were good intentions, my wishes were probably more foolish than my daughter’s.
My first was for everyone to see the true colors of a person I’m pretty sure has narcissistic personality disorder. Granted, my clinical training is limited to a few classes in graduate school, but he has most of the of the classic characteristics. He not only lies but also he believes his own lies. He manipulates yet does his best to convey that others are the ones being manipulative. He expects everyone else to go along with his plans, doesn’t listen to anyone he doesn’t deem worthy, takes advantage of others and exaggerates his skills and talents. This week, when I realized how many people either don’t recognize or don’t want to recognize this, I’d had enough. I wished everyone else could see through the bravado. But if that happened, I later realized, his gigantic ego would be injured but he’d still carry on with his life. Others could be hurt much more, and then I’d be as selfish as he is. That was an incredibly foolish wish.
My second wish came after looking at a Facebook news feed and witnessing what I deemed some incredibly stupid posts. Some people were sharing inappropriate details about their personal life and health. Others were posting photos of themselves that screamed “pay attention to me.” And then there were the completely inaccurate and misleading political posts. I wished that Facebook had an automatic editor that screened inane and inaccurate posts then provided genuine feedback as to why the edits were made. I smiled at the thought of opening up Facebook to a much more rationale, intelligent and genuinely humorous news feed. But then I realized what a damaging and self-righteous wish that was. What I was really asking for was a limit on free speech. And no matter how inaccurate, hurtful or stupid the information is that people are now putting on the internet, many Americans fought and even lost their lives for their right to do so. I had wasted another wish.
That’s why my third wish came very close to being a wish to get rid of mirrors.
Mirrors generally don’t benefit society. They either encourage vanity or dissatisfaction. After my first two wishes, I didn’t want to look in the mirror anyway. My avoidance of a mirror had nothing to do with my outward appearance and everything to with lifelong aversion to self-absorbed and self-righteous people. If I looked into the mirror after my first two wishes, I would have been face-to-face with just such a person. But maybe that’s why I wanted mirrors eliminated.
I was on the verge of making the mirror wish when I received an email that jerked me back to reality. The son of a friend had been very seriously injured, and all anyone could do is pray. In comparison, all my wishes seemed trivial and ridiculous. I realized we are all on this planet together and finding fault with each other really doesn’t do us any good in the end. Neither does thinking that we know better than others.
I’m still in the process of learning that lesson the hard way, but I also have one imaginary wish left. If it were real, I’d use it to wish we all had just a bit more patience and understanding. No matter how I look at it, I don’t see how this is foolish. It doesn’t break the rule of wanting more wishes, but it could be magical and transform humanity.