The other morning, I woke up and had to deal with an unpleasant fresh spill in the corner of the kitchen. As I scrubbed, I thought to myself in a very conversational style: “I wish I could wake up EVERY day to a puddle of warm cat pee that needs sopping up. That was sarcasm by the way; I did not want to use up one of my remaining wishes on that.” Yep, that is exactly the mock-conversation I had with myself. In my head. Not aloud.
You see, I rarely — if ever — use the phrase “I wish” aloud. If I actually had three wishes, I would probably never know. The consequences of thoughtless wishing have been drilled into my head from stories, television, and movies. Wishes have been a long-time popular subject among storytellers. There was the story of the lady who wished her recently deceased husband to be alive again, unfortunately after he was embalmed, so he was in constant agonizing pain and then couldn’t be easily re-killed without another wish. There are the stories of people wishing for money and who then are crushed by the gold or end up receiving stolen money and have no way to show they didn’t steal it. There are creepy stories involving a monkey’s paw. Wishes are really not something you want unless you can sit down with a bunch of creative thinkers and lawyers to ensure all loopholes are closed — and who wants to spend a bunch of time with lawyers?
Sometimes I wonder why three wishes? Why not one or two or four? Or four-hundred? Presenting a smallish odd number of wishes seems a little cruel, as you would need an even number to undo bad wishes — at least during the first few as you got the hang of what was a good versus bad wish; maybe by the time you reached 100 wishes, were you given that many, you would be experienced enough that the number of required “undo wishes” diminishes.
Because of the media portrayal of wishes, I rarely say the exact phrase “I wish.” I have no problem posing such things as a statement or question that uses the term “wish” in it, just not the literal phrase “I wish.” Every time I start to say something with “I wish,” I find a way to phrase it so it technically would not be a wish (had any genie-like being been eavesdropping), but just a non-wishing statement. “I’d wish…” implies no wish has been made much like “I’d mow the lawn, but I’m busy watching television” implies no actual lawn mowing has occurred. “I think I would wish for nicer weather” is just a statement, not a wish.
Where is all of this leading to? I don’t know. Maybe I overthink. I am not terribly religious, so am not frightened by an almighty deity in the sky — but maybe my brain is compensating for this by being paranoid of all-hearing wish-granters? Or maybe it is a common minor neurosis? I don’t know, nor do I wish to worry about it too much.
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Updated: Either I am a big fat hypocrite or whatever framework I have crafted for myself regarding granting wishes does not apply to typed (possibly sarcastically typed) text. (I’m thinking the latter.) It turns out that not too long before I posted this entry, I tweeted a sort of sarcastic wish. I did not even realize I had done so until I was reviewing tweets find something else this morning. The “not realizing” bit is what really took me by surprise.