Granting Wishes is Just a Job

This is a response to the Daily Post prompt Generous Genies.

You’re asking a genie what he wants? That’s funny. That’s like asking what a genie would wish for. Well, I don’t have much use for wishes, myself. To wish for a certain kind of wish to grant? That I can do. You see, to you a wish might be a miraculous thing. To me it’s just a job, and not often an exciting one. Not anymore. I’ve been doing it too long.

People are mostly the same. I’ve been through so many that it gets boring. Every so often, I get a wish that hasn’t been asked yet. Those are the ones I want.

I’m not the kind of genie who twists wishes into ugly things. I’m not the kind who teaches moral lessons. That’s no good. Of course I’ve never known a real genie to behave like that. I suppose it makes good fiction, but not too many of us are really that concerned with teaching the wishers. Let them learn on their own. Let them make mistakes. They aren’t any better off? Hey, I get paid either way. So let’s get that out of the way. Ironic punishment and subtle spiritual instruction aren’t my gig. If you don’t have enlightenment, then you can’t get it from me. If you do have it, then what I can give you is just gravy.

Side note here, you notice I call them wishers, not masters? Sorry to break your heart, but it’s a job. You might be the boss, but that’s it. I’ll call you by your name. I actually had one idiot wish for me to act like a genie from a story. That meant calling him master and deviously warping his words. Who in their right mind would ask for that? Some people just can’t deal with things that aren’t what they expect, I guess.

There are so many stories about wishes gone wrong, but what kind of nonsense is it to impose retribution on others for wanting things? The general idea of that thinking is that people should be happy with what they have. That’s ridiculous. I’ve had far too many wishers who haven’t had enough to happy with. The bottle ends up in unlikely places, and even I don’t understand that part. I can tell you that I’ve had a lot of dirt poor, homeless types open it up. Try telling them to be happy and grateful where they are. They want a better life through wishing? Then who are you and I to say they shouldn’t have it? I’m not about to damage someone by twisting their own desires. That’s just sick, even if it is the way the stories are told.

Besides, it’s a lot more rewarding to play along. You don’t need to word your wishes carefully with me. I tend to talk them out and make sure I’m delivering. “What kind of Porsche? … Okay then, let’s take a look at what all you have to choose from. Personally, I like the 911 Turbo S, but it’s your call. If you’d like, I’ll let you test drive some to get a feel for it.” Why not make it easy? When the century is done and these people have to report on my performance, I want a good review.

I can offer advice on any wish that’s being considered, but I can’t suggest a wish. That’s the hard part. I have to watch people fumble around and screw that up. After all my time doing this, I can probably tell you what you want, but I can’t tell you what you want. Silly rule in my opinion, but I don’t make the rules. That’s why the ones I enjoy granting wishes to are the ones who can come up with ideas that I don’t expect. I still get wishes that I’ve never heard before. One guy a decade and a half ago wanted his own flock of flamingos. I’m not allowed to ask why, so I’ve never known. I did make certain that he had plenty of them and that they would always migrate yearly to his home wherever he was making his home. I hope he enjoyed that as much as he thought he would. I can tell you that I learned a lot more about flamingos than I ever thought I’d have to know.

I can’t blame people for wanting the regular things though. Money is the most common one. It’s actually one of the more intelligent wishes a person can make, even if it is obvious. When you’re wishing for money, you’re not actually wishing for money. What you’re wishing for is all the things that money can buy. Not bad. If I actually had needs, then a wish for money probably be my first one. I always do help people figure out how to do it right. I mean, if you all of a sudden drop a hundred million in your savings account, the IRS is going to have some questions. I get people through the danger so they can enjoy their riches.

Some ask for happiness. I try to explain to them that it’s a bad idea. Wish for something that makes you happy. Don’t wish for happiness. This is one that I don’t ask a lot of questions about, because I know it can only end badly for anyone who crafts a specific wish. I give them what they want. I give them happiness. Then it wears off, because that’s what happiness does. They’re never happy about that once the happiness is gone. Can you imagine being happy all the time though? Happy or not, life would be empty. You’d have to be prescribed some depressants to return to a fulfilling human state of life.

A lot of people ask for love. “What exactly do you mean? True love with your soul mate? Respect and admiration from the world in general? More appreciation from your current loved ones? A general understanding of the concept?” People get stumped real fast. I guess they think I’ll just know what they mean. That wish isn’t just boring, it’s difficult. Please, think it out first.
There are a lot of variations on that theme. I had a woman wish for Matthew McConaughey. I hated to tell her, “Sweet heart, he’s not what you’re expecting.”

“Now unless you know him, how do you know that?”

“I have met him. How do you think he got the movie career?”

Oh, she wasn’t happy with that. After a long conversation, I had her straightened out. She got a much better boy toy than anything that’s available in celebrity magazines. Why did she need my help though? Why didn’t she know what she wanted? What’s so hard about that?

“World peace.” I get that a lot. I always say the same thing. “Hold a door for a stranger. You’ll be doing a lot more good than wishing for world peace.” I always manage to talk them out of that one. To be honest, I’m not sure I could pull it off. Even if I could, it’s really only a nice thought if you’re not living under a hard dictatorship. Oppression can be peaceful. That doesn’t make it okay. Now why don’t people wish for world freedom instead of world peace? That would be so much more intelligent, so much more challenging. Granted, I don’t think I could pull that one off either, but I’ve never heard anyone ask for it. Ever. And I think it’s obvious.

Make it interesting for me, and I’ll enjoy my job that much more. It’s not your concern if I’m enjoying the job or not, but you asked who I would choose to give wishes to. That’s the answer. The ones with abnormal requests. The woman who wanted the tea set she’d inherited to come to life. That was fun. It took days to get the perfect description of what she wanted, and that was just her first wish. The teapot gave her plenty of advice for the next two wishes.

Someone wanted music wherever he went. I said, “Buy and MP3 player.”

“You don’t understand. I hate the stuff that pumps out of speakers in department stores and restaurants. I don’t want to hear that any more. I want real music, everywhere I go. And I want other people hear what I want to hear.”

“Okay. So let’s talk about how that would work. And I’m going to need a playlist. It can be as long as you like.” That took over a year to work out completely. Fine with me. More time out of the bottle, and he did have good taste in music. A lot of what he wanted plays in my bottle now, I’ll tell you that.

One dreamy eyed young woman wanted to see other planets. You’d think I’d have heard that one, but with so much money and so many cars to wish for, no one had actually gotten to this. I loved it. I’ve always wanted to see other worlds, but without a wisher wanting it, I don’t get a vacation. We visited over three hundred other planets throughout the cosmos. Many of them required some temporary biological alteration to the wisher, but she didn’t mind since I set her right as soon as we got back to Earth. There is a lot out there to see. I highly recommend that wish to anyone. There are a lot of other planets to visit, so I won’t get bored even if that wish is repeated.

A far more banal wisher offered me something I wasn’t expecting. You’ll probably think I’m out of touch, but it’s not my fault. The bottle doesn’t have an internet connection. This poor schmuck sure did though. He couldn’t pull himself away from his computer desk even while he was wishing. He googled wishes while he was talking to me. The first thing he wanted? Bad luck bestowed on some trolls. Trolls? There haven’t been trolls walking the world for over three hundred years. I know the genie who granted the wish that ended them. Of course you know what he really meant. I didn’t. It took some explaining, and along the way I learned a lot about the modern world. So I guess even some rudimentary and puerile wishes can be interesting for me.

One old lady who rubbed the lamp wanted a fantastic funeral. I tried to explain to her that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy that wish. She assured me she would. She didn’t have to see the funeral. Just knowing it would happen would grant her happiness in life. That’s a bit outside of my experience since genies don’t get to have funerals, so I took her word for it. I spent quite a lot of time with the old girl drinking tea in the afternoon, screwdrivers at night and a lot of horrible food. She was such a charming old woman, and I’d never had the opportunity to plan a funeral before.

So that’s the answer. I don’t care if your wishes are good or bad. That has nothing to do with me. I don’t care if your wishes make the world a better place especially since most of those altruistic wishes are bad ideas when they’re really examined. What I want most from a wisher is a new idea.

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