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Monday, April 11, 2011

ooh child

So here we are.
A couple of years ago, I was on the subway in that lazy afternoon hour of 3:30 PM, in between the crush and throngs, when the trains are somewhat emptier and friendlier and more chatty. A small boy, about 5 or 6 years old and sporting the requisite ball cap for added adorability, was traveling with his mom, and they were happily chatting with some random passenger across the aisle about this and that, and then a question was posed to the child:
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
And the kid grinned this adorable grin and instantly said: I want to be rich, I want to be famous, and... uh...
...I don’t know.
Oooh. That hurt my soul to hear. And not just because kids today don’t seem to realize that they can wish for a million wishes.

He couldn’t come up with a third wish?!? He could only come up with wealth and fame as the only wish possibilities?!? I wanted to shout out from my seat, to tell the kid that wishing for wealth and fame are horrible monkey’s paw wishes, the kind that come with strings and crap. (Plus, it’s so cliché!) I wanted to jump up and swing around the pole and perform a improvised patter song wherein I rattle off all of the much better things to wish for, the important things in life that would provide satisfaction rather than sadness. (With a capital “S” that rhymes with... mess... that... um... never mind.)
But I am not a pole-swinger -- insert punchline here -- so I stayed mum and seated.
However, the time for sitting is over, and so it is thusly that I belatedly spew these things now to all those kids out there, just without the patter-song part. It’s a public service, really...not just for the wee ones, but for all the helpless people who find themselves faced with the offer of three wishes and are *this* close to settling for wealth and fame and nothing else. It will also come in handy for those who sell their souls. 
Happiness. Lust for life. Love. Empathy. A fun existence. Someone to share your life with. A supportive family. Loyal friends. A date for the prom.
Health for you and your loved ones. Good genes. A long life that lasts exactly as long as you want it to. Never experiencing depression. Total immunity to colds and the flu. 
Financial security. Job security. Career satisfaction. The ability to make a decent living doing what you love to do. Being able to afford a little fun as well as charity. Always having enough in your pocket, and the knowledge of what enough is. (These are all vastly different than wealth, but they also don’t necessarily preclude it, either.)
Success. Un-wasted talent. A life that makes a positive impact on the world. The ability to write and/or to make someone laugh. A decent karaoke voice. Rhythm. (These are much better alternatives to fame.)
Your own home that never gets washed away or destroyed. Fearlessness. Freedom. Equality. Respect. A life lived among beauty and goodness. A world without crime. Peace. 
Wow. It’s getting heavy in here. Let’s shift gears, shall we?
Good hair. Good teeth. A great metabolism. A cookie. A competent barista. Toys. Shiny things. A perfect day. An umbrella when you need one. Free cable. Free refills. The best bagel place in town right around the corner from your home. A soft robe. A foot massage. Excellent customer service. Tight pores. Good TV shows. Great neighbors. Not needing glasses if you don’t want them and wanting glasses if you need them. The guarantee that your team will win. A fun robot pal who never turns on humans like in the movies. Footwear that is comfortable as well as stylish. A great anecdote for parties. Free shipping. A parking space. The right handbag at an affordable price. Never feeling too hot or too cold. Unshakable confidence. Charm. Breakfast all day. 
That’s just off the top of my head. Come on, kids. You can do better. And if you can’t, then just put down that lamp.
Disclaimer: the management is not responsible for an unfortunate outcome of suggested wishes, or a wish that lasts for more than four hours. Talk to your doctor before taking these words... and use this blog only as directed. 
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.


  1. "It will also come in handy for those who sell their souls." *snort*

    Thanks for the ray of sunshine. :)

  2. Thanks, friend. Your calling this a ray of sunshine was my ray of sunshine.

  3. When I was 6 (admittedly a long, long time ago) I did not know about wealth and fame, I didn't have goals or a life plan; I was, in todays terms, rather short sighted. Today we live in the age of the Mandarin speaking, cello playing 3 year old, and yet I do not think that we have progressed. The saddest thing about your story is that children are now old before their time. Bring back childhood. It would good for all of us and mostly for the children.