The Calamity of Wishes
Wishes pervaded my childhood: in books, in movies, even in real life, people seemed to be making wishes constantly. I was taken aback by how people carelessly tossed off their desired wishes. Everyone made the same mistake: they never considered how their words could be interpreted. One day, when I was in second grade, a friend casually said, “Ugh, I wish my mom would make me dinner.” In my mind, I bemusedly wondered what would happen if wishes were granted, spontaneously and literally. Would she turn into chicken and roast potatoes? When I was six-years-old, watching Disney’s Aladdin for the first time, I was appalled at Aladdin’s sloppy wish making. In contrast, if I ever encountered a genie, I knew I would follow a strict process, first writing out the basic concepts and then laboriously arranging each word and phrase so the meaning was incontrovertible. In my young mind, nothing was worse than a nefarious genie, contriving an alternative meaning to a wish. To this day, each time I make a wish, I pause to consider any potential loopholes and ramifications. Wishing is a tricky business, and to this day I wonder if I would rub the lamp.