I woke this morning doing the backstroke in a mire of melancholy, the blue funk that too often drains the color from my days, and with the mental image of a disembodied monkey’s paw reaching toward me; a consiliatory gesture, I suppose, that started me thinking of all I have wished for and what I would wish for now if I had wishes left.
After spending much of the past week paying careful attention to the many blessings in my life and processing the appropriate gratitude, I’m not surprised by this equal and opposite reaction today; Newton was, after all, a pretty bright guy, and he called it in that third law of his.
Over-thinking, as I do, I can’t just eat turkey thankfully … and I was SO thankful! Nope. The initial cranberry joy-burst must be followed by digestion, and although not a ruminant I do know the flavor of cud: It tastes of fear. It tastes of grief. Today it tastes of my mother who is not well and thousands of miles away, of Jaren, of lonliness and anxiety over whatthefuckhappensnext.
It also tastes of tired … tired of wishes.
Years ago I wrote a story I called “Beggars Would Ride”, a tale about a wish coming true. There was no talisman required, just a simple dedication to repeating the wish often and believing for a very long time it would be granted.
Although it involved no consequence as dire as as the horror of The Monkey’s Paw, it did speak to the futility of wishes made casually and persued without insight.
I don’t want to think in terms of a paw, but if I had a magic wand to wave would I? And if I had the nerve to give it a swish, what would I wish?
Of course, I wish for my children to live long and happily prosper, but know too well how little a wish, no matter how fervent, controls events. I could wish some things that happened hadn’t and others that hadn’t had, but where’s the good in that?
“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.”
Sure. I can do that … I wish I had a cup of tea. Viola! I wish my dog would stop scratching. TaaDaa!
Easy enough, heh? Right up to, “I wish my mother wasn’t so miserable … “, and, “I wish I could be around to see Sam and Cj grown … “, or even simply, “I wish we were going to Mexico for Christmas …”.
It seems a wish is nothing more than jingling keys meant to draw attention toward the camera … say “cheese” … a bit of shiny fluff.
In some ways that’s fine, I guess. What’s the harm in, say, fantasizing about a world created by your own wish? How many hours are pleasantly spun out globally by people imagining a future after winning the lottery? A waste of time? You bet, but not without value to bleak lives.
For me today, though, it would take more energy than I would choose to muster for something so useless. Instead, I’ll work. Rather than wish this book I’m writing done, I will come closer to making it so.
I’ll also do what I can to arrange for tomorrow to be a better day. Wish me luck …
“Beggars Would Ride” is included in my book, “Papaya … and other seeds”, and was adapted for a short film called simply, “Wish” …