Wishful Thinking

It’s kind of funny the way we pin so much hope on wishes. We stick candles on cakes then demand that the birthday boy “make a wish!” But not just any wish. We also remind cake boy to “make it a good one!” You know, just in case he screws up and extinguishes the candles while hoping for something truly lame. Nuh-uh…that one’s not going to be on us.

And we’re forever sending people “best” wishes for all sorts of occassions. You know, because good or better wishes would reflect badly on us. Let’s face it, no one ever sends a card with “good wishes on your new baby.” (From Hallmark’s “When You Care Enough To Send The Very Good.” division.)

That just looks like you’re hedging your bets on their newborn.

And then they are the people who really put some muscle into it. They fervently wish. No wistful gazing at the first star they see at night and wish they may, wish they might…this is hardcore wishing. Fairy tales were always great at this. Some troll or genie or fairy godmother was forever dangling three wishes in exchange for anything the average schmo needed, like food or gold coins or children to use as cheap farm labor. And you could always count on these wish-getters to blow it big time. They succumbed to greed (the church liked to hammer that sin particularly hard) or stupidity (this generally went with the territory.) Peasants were especially prone to what we like to call, “dumb-ass wishing” or wishes that clearly over-reached, i.e.: to marry a prince, go to a ball or live beyond 35.

However, the largest segment of the population engages in what can only be called, banal wishing. (It can be referred to as unimaginative, dull or ordinary, too, but it wouldn’t have the same ring.) These are the wishes made when all hope is seemingly lost. Choice among them, the vomit wish. This is when you’re on your knees fervently ( just want to see if you’re paying attention) wishing to not throw up. For the record, it seldom actually works but that doesn’t stop us from re-wishing up until the point we’re so dehydrated and exhausted we’re grateful to merely survive. There is sometimes a fine line between wish fulfillment and just settling.

Then there are prayers. (This is where it gets tricky.) In this case, we’re still kind of wishing but we have an actual “guy.” No wishbones or magic beans necessary, although humiliation is always a good starting point. But the crazy thing is just how often we confuse the possibility of divine intervention with the wish to own a $950 pair of shoes. In other words, we pray for peace the way we pray for the train to arrive on time. There’s just no distinction and I can only imagine that annoys Him.

Let’s face it: there will always be some folks who live to crush our dreams by reminding us “wishing doesn’t make it so.” They are known as: *Small-Minded, Self-Satisfied, Wish-Denigrators, or SSW’s.

(* Not a real thing.) They suck the air out of tires for fun. Nonetheless, I wish them well. O.K….maybe not well, just good.

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