Bev's Happy Owls

Be careful what you wish for!

Be careful what you wish for, I can't remember where I had this story from, but it's definitely worth a read!

The Post-Modern Genie
Todd hated getting ready for bed. He was tired and just wanted to go to sleep. Why did he have to bother with all this stuff when all he wanted was for his head to hit the pillow so he could drift off to Dreamland?

Still, he knew there were things he just had to do so he dutifully unscrewed the cap on his toothpaste and squeezed the tube. To his utter amazement, a cloud of smoke poured out of the tube. When the smoke cleared, Todd saw a brilliantly shining figure of a bearded man in a turban floating in the air before him.

"I am the Genie of the Tube" the luminous form said. "What is thy desire, O Master?"

"A Genie?" Todd was stunned. "I didn't think you guys hung out in tubes of toothpaste."
"It's a new innovation," the Genie replied. "I don't know if you’ve noticed, but not many people rub oil lamps anymore. We're test-marketing new ways to reach our public."

"Wow! Do I still get wishes?"
"Of course" the Genie assured him. "We're only changing our distribution channels. The product remains the same."

"How many wishes do I get?" Todd demanded to know. He knew Genies could be tricky, and he didn't want to miss any of the fine-print.

"As a special promotion because we're testing these new modalities, you get an unlimited number of wishes."

Todd was suspicious. "You've got to be kidding. Unlimited wishes?"

"Absolutely!" said the Genie. "Look, I've got nothing up my sleeves." Todd saw that this was literally true. In fact, the Genie had no sleeves, wearing only an embroidered felt vest.

"And there's no obligation on my part?"
"We only ask that you fill out a short survey when you're done with our service, but it's completely voluntary."

"Well..." Todd said, "OK! You've got a deal."

As he crawled into bed next to his already-sleeping wife, Todd had a broad smile on his face. He could hardly wait to get to sleep and dream of all he would wish for.

The next morning as the rude buzz woke him out of a wonderful dream, Todd found himself wishing he didn't have to be woken up by the alarm clock every morning.

Todd's wife was already downstairs feeding the kids their breakfast as Todd trudged out of bed and went to the bathroom to take care of his morning grooming. He squeezed the tube of paste, but no Genie emerged. He wondered whether he had just dreamed the whole thing.

Todd went through his normal commute, his normal workday and his normal evening with the wife and kids. But when he began getting ready for bed and squeezed the tube of paste, the smoke once more emerged and there before him was the shining Genie.

"I thought I'd just imagined you when you didn't come out of the tube of paste this morning" Todd told him. "Even Genies get time-off," the Genie said, a bit surly. "You’re in a bad mood." Todd noted.

"Well, I'll tell you!" the Genie shot back, "I'm finding a tube of toothpaste makes an oil lamp look like the Taj Mahal. My back is killing me!"

"You're not backing out of our deal?" Todd cried with alarm. "No, no, Master. A deal's a deal. Whatever you wish for, you will receive." Todd went to bed with a broad smile on his face once more.

The next thing Todd knew, he was in the bathroom with his shaver in his hand. He was apparently getting ready for the day. How had that happened? He could not remember the alarm going off at all.

And then Todd remembered that the day before he had wished that he didn't have to wake to the alarm. His wish had come true! This thing really worked! Todd was giddy with the thought of all he could wish for.

Todd began to shave and he realized how much he hated his morning grooming rituals. He hated shaving. He hated brushing and flossing his teeth. He hated showering. "I wish I didn't have to go through all this in the morning to get ready for work." He wished fervently.

When Todd woke up the next morning, he found himself down at breakfast with Shirley and the kids. He was already shaved, showered, brushed, and flossed – totally ready for his workday. "This is terrific!" Todd thought.

But his good mood lasted only briefly as he got annoyed at the racket the kids were making and his wife calling to him over the loud sizzling of the bacon about all the things she needed him to do. He wished he didn't have to go through that in the morning.

When Todd woke up the next morning, he found that he was already in the car, headed to work. He felt relaxed and at ease, a wonderful lack of tension. That is, of course, until a couple of drivers cut him off as they rushed to work and then he ran into a traffic jam when one of the frantic drivers caused an accident with another car. As he sat in his car, waiting for the jam to clear, Todd wished he didn't have to deal with this terrible commute every day.

The next day, Todd woke to find himself already at work. But his joy at this was only fleeting because soon a co-worker told him that a delivery Todd was depending on would be late, his boss yelled at him for the delay in getting the product to market, and lunch at the company cafeteria that day was liver.

"I wish I didn't have to work." Todd found himself thinking.

The next day Todd woke to find himself at dinner with his family. "Is it just me?" Todd wondered, "or do the days seem to be getting shorter?"

As Todd tried to watch the news report to see what he had missed during the days, the kids bothered him to help them with their homework or to play with them, and his wife insisted that he talk to her to deal with the issues he had been ignoring. Todd wished he could just go to sleep without having to deal with these hassles every night.

The next day Todd didn't wake up at all. It was weird. He seemed to be stuck in some sort of Dreamland, but he could not awaken. As if from a very far distance, he could hear his wife speaking to someone. They seemed to be planning Todd's funeral! He wanted to shout at her that he was not dead, just sleeping! But he could not awaken.

Then, through the mists of Dreamland, Todd could see what appeared to be the smoky form of his Genie. "What have you done to me?" Todd demanded.

"Only what you wished for, O Master."

Todd realized, sadly, that this was true. By wishing his challenges away, he had wished his life away.

The Genie held out a sheet of paper a pen and said, "Would you be willing to fill out the short survey?" Todd took the survey and saw that it had only one question: "What would you have done differently?"

In the lined spaces below the question, Todd wrote, "Instead of wishing those things away, I wish I had just wished to do them better."

Written by David Prowse