WISHING FOR WISDOM TO WISH WISELY

Forget what you’ve learned about genies from television– it’s nonsense.  I know, because I encountered one.  As I lay on my bed this afternoon, listening to English on my shortwave, the language suddenly changed to Arabic–and I understood it!  Then a man’s voice said, in that same language, “Yes, I am a genie, and I have already granted your first wish: to be bilingual.  For the rest of your life, you will speak and write Arabic as easily as English.

Surely enough, I replied in Arabic.  “Why me?”

“You are not meant to know yet,” he said.  “Now do you want two more wishes granted?”

I considered asking the genie to appear, in the flesh, but realized that would be a wish.  “Yes, thank you!” I replied.

I had always wanted to be invincible, to have ultimate power–so I could fix this broken world, and bullets, even viruses, poisons, and nuclear bombs could not harm me.  But I remembered the saying, ‘Absolute power corrupteth, absolutely,’ and knew I’d lose my soul if that desire were granted.

So I went to the second idea, and said, “I want to be a shape-shifter– I want to be able to change into any other living thing I choose, then change back, at will.”

“Why?” asked the genie.

“I want to fly, for one thing.  I could become a massive hawk, and soar over Mobile Bay.  And I want to see what it’s like to be a woman.  In short, I want to have fantastic experiences I couldn’t have, as myself.”

“But you could steal, with impunity.  You could take the forms of married men and have sex with their wives.  I know your fear–that of losing your soul.  Are you willing to risk it?”

“No,” I sighed, after a moment’s reflection.

“Then how about this,” the genie said, “You’ve always been totally deaf in your left ear…”

“Yes, of course!  Okay, my second wish is to hear out of both ears!”  Suddenly, a universe of sound opened!  I was somewhat overwhelmed, of course, but I knew I’d become accustomed to it.

“You have one more wish,” said the genie.

“Oh yeah,” I chuckled, “I forgot!  But I don’t know what to wish for.”

The genie took a breath.  “Choose the first thing that comes to mind.”

“A dog!” I replied, “One I can wrestle with– a cross between an Irish wolfhound and a Saint Bernard!”

When the dog appeared beside me, I sat up.  I wrestled with him, laughing the whole time.  Then I finally calmed down, and scratched him behind the ears.  “This dog is house-trained?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” the genie replied, “And he is immune to all disease, and will live as long as you do.  Furthermore, he is the most intelligent dog on Earth, and can be trained to do almost anything, short of speaking.”

“I don’t suppose he can use a litterbox?” I said.

“No!” he laughed, “But he already knows to relieve himself in the same remote part of your lawn, every time.”

“How can I thank you?” I asked.

“By granting the three wishes of another.”

“But I’m no genie,” I said, “How could I have the wisdom to grant the right wishes?”

“You already do–why do you think I contacted you, in the first place?”

The Arabic changed back to English–the genie was gone.  I turned off my shortwave, and ponderously petted my dog.  I decided to apply at the University of West Florida or Pensacola State College, as an Arabic instructor.  If neither of them would hire me, I’d apply elsewhere, as a translator.  But first I must thank the genie, by keeping my commitment to him.

So, Dear Reader, what would you wish for first?

2 Responses to “WISHING FOR WISDOM TO WISH WISELY”


  1. 1 theduffboy May 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    What a great story! What’s your dog’s name? Mine is Peanut.

    • 2 solosocial May 18, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks!

      If I had a dog, under the circumstances of my story, I’d name him something in Arabic!

      Peanut’s a good name for a dog!


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