So, there you are, the magic lamp in your hands, the genie before you. After fighting down your primal terror at the face of the djinn, you are left with the question: what are your three wishes?
I think it’s probably safe to say that every geek worth his or her salt has spent a fair amount of time considering this issue. For those of you who haven’t, it is far more complicated a question that you think. For one thing, it is very, very important to remember that the genie is not your friend. Don’t listen to Disney, folks–this is an all-powerful otherworldly entity that has been chained inside a lamp for every idiot mortal to come order around for all eternity. They are really, really pissed about it (and who can blame them?), so you can reasonably expect them to do everything possible to screw with you. Proceed with extreme caution. Some things you ought to do before actually making a wish:
- Be Specific and Literal: Stay away from metaphor, idiom, or generalities. If you ask to be ‘taken far, far away’, it’s your own damn fault if you wind up suffocating/freezing on the surface of the moon.
- Write Out Your Wish: Don’t just jump in–take your time, write it out, proofread, and make sure it will work to your benefit. This is a good way to accomplish #1, too.
- Ask Questions: Ask the genie what constitutes a wish, ask it how the wishes work, and so on (are there limits/rules? Can you wish for more wishes?). If it doesn’t answer or counts your first question as a wish, that lets you know what you’re dealing with. Don’t make commands of the genie, however, if you don’t intend to use a wish–bad idea. Proceed with caution, remember?
Beyond this, there is also the issue of ‘what makes a good wish?’ If you wish for eternal life, make sure you include ‘eternal youth’. Also make sure you’ve thought about what it means to live forever. Remember King Midas? Be careful what you wish for, as they say.
So, here are my wishes, as they stand.
Wish #1: I wish for myself, my family, and my friends to be blessed with good health and peak physical fitness for the duration of their natural lives.
This wish, I feel, is a more responsible way to wish for good health. If I’m healthy, I want everybody I care about to be, too. While I might also wish the whole world be healthy, that, I feel, would have some nasty side-effects I’d have trouble anticipating. I also wouldn’t tell my friends or family I made this wish, either–that would make me way too popular, I imagine. I’d hope that we’d all just be seen as uncommonly lucky and healthy people. At any rate, my descendants would also benefit from this wish, so in that sense it would spread to others down through the generations.
Wish #2: I wish for the ability to create alternate worlds according to my specifications and for me to travel freely between those worlds and this one as I see fit.
This is the vanity wish, I confess. As a lover of fantasy and science fiction, I think it would be a lot of fun to be able to actually create these alternate worlds. This wish is also very dangerous–it is an immense responsibility, creating worlds, and I would have to be very careful. It would be nice, however, to have my own private island in an alternate dimension that I and my friends/family could visit anytime they want. I could also potentially parley this into a financial boon–create a world rich in gold and a bunch of critters to mine it for me, or the like. This wish might be beyond the genie’s power to grant, admittedly, or may count as two wishes–who knows?
Wish #3: Undecided
I really don’t know what wish #3 would be. I wouldn’t want to wish for money or success–lots of complications in the first place and I’d rather achieve it myself in the second. I don’t really want to live forever. I think I might just keep this one in my back pocket–an insurance wish, if you will–to save for a rainy day. I could use it to undo the effects of an accident, perhaps, or to save the life of someone I love. Yeah, keeping it sounds like a good idea.
So, what are your wishes? Have you thought them through? What do you think?