1008: Three Wishes

My mind regularly wanders, particularly when I’m trying to get to sleep, and often delves into the territory of rather predictable fantasies. No, not that kind of fantasy — well, not all the time, anyway — but rather the sort of fantasies that tend to provoke conversations in the pub or at the end of a house party. Things like “what superpowers would you like to have?” or “what would you do if you had three wishes?”

I’ve always found the idea of three wishes a fascinating one, ever since I first heard various genie-toting tales from the Arabian Nights and the subsequent primary school “I wish I had three more wishes” jokes. I’ve never quite managed to come up with a definitive answer as to what my three would be. The closest I’ve come is determining that I’d probably have two “practical” ones, one of which is usually ensuring that my body is in perfect physical condition — because, well, if you have the opportunity, you might as well ensure you’re in full working order, right? (And also I’m fed up with having an itchy scalp. TMI? Fuck off.) The second practical one is often ensuring I’m in a situation where I don’t have to worry about money. (This fantasy came up considerably more frequently while I was out of work, as you might expect.)

It’s the third wish I often spend a long time pondering, though. I figure once I’ve done the vaguely responsible thing and wished for things that ensure my affairs are in order, I can cut loose with the third one. (Of course, I could also set the genie free with my third wish, but where’s the fun in that?)

Several recurring possibilities usually enter my mind for this third wish. They probably say something about me. Please do not read too much into them. (Or do. I don’t care. You can do what you want.)

My first possible third wish (you’re following, right?) is the ability to “do magic”. Perhaps as a side-effect of my love of role-playing games, every time I imagine requesting this wish I picture the genie bringing up what essentially amounts to a character creation interface and inviting me to pick my spells. The magic I end up choosing usually ends up being of the elemental variety. Thinking about it, I’m not entirely sure why I pick this, because if there’s one thing that probably isn’t that useful in everyday modern society, it’s elemental magic. Whatever role-playing games might tell us, there are not monsters wandering around outside every town, problems cannot always be solved by setting fire to people who disagree with you and broken machinery cannot be repaired simply by calling down a thunderbolt on it. (In fact, some might say that usually has the opposite effect to repairing it.)

My second possible third wish is that my car would become a VTOL flying vehicle powered by anti-gravity technology which is physically impossible — so far as we know, anyway. Or it might be magic, given that said car doesn’t usually require any fuel. This is a fairly self-explanatory wish usually provoked by the fact I’ve been stuck in a traffic jam at some point during the day and inevitably found myself picturing what it might be like if my car could just rise up off the ground and fly over all the frustrated motorists beneath me. It would be awesome. Don’t say it wouldn’t be, because you would be wrong.

My third possible third wish is the ability to switch bodies with someone — usually a person of the opposite sex who has absolutely nothing to do with my normal life and who possibly exists outside of normal space and time. This is pure curiosity, and come on, who hasn’t wondered about how “the other side” lives? Different times I’ve had this particular fantasy have varied slightly — sometimes the other person simply ceases to exist when my consciousness isn’t present in her; other times she goes about her normal life and simply switches places with me willingly; sometimes she’s an empty vessel (like a robot body) built to hold my consciousness; other times, she is me in a parallel dimension and I am actually both people, I’m simply only aware of one at a time; other times still, the change comes without warning at unexpected moments. (The latter situation, I’ve recently discovered, is the plot hook of the anime Kokoro Connect, so naturally I’ve immediately started watching it.) My motivation for this wish is simply to see what it would be like living another life that is completely different to my own — opposite in almost every respect.

A variation on that third possible wish is to gain the ability to shapeshift. When I picture this wish, my imagination usually puts some surprisingly conservative limitations on my power. I can usually only shapeshift for a limited amount of time, meaning that I can’t just stick in another form — I’ll just change back to my real self after a set period of time has elapsed. I’m usually only limited to changing into other human forms, as well — no turning into, say, a xylophone or a fridge for me. It’s enough to have a similar experience to the “body-swapping” wish, though — I get to try out what it’s like to be someone completely different for a little while.

Obviously, I know all of these will never come true so it’s a completely moot point. But I wonder, if the opportunity did arise, which one I’d actually choose when the time came?

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Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

One thought on “1008: Three Wishes”

  1. Wow Pete, you could start a whole new blog chain – 3 wishes! The concept is ancient as you have said, but has it been done as a blog?
    I’ll have to think about my 3 wishes and get back to you. I do agree with the 1st being for a fit healthy sexy snazzy attractive fun-loving self body again that doesn’t grow old and sag and turn into someone other than me. The 2nd would be good, as you say to have the financial material part of life sorted to remove any further worries and to free me to pursue whatever I want in comfort. (You can see that I make my wishes on a broad scale – might as well seeing as it’s fantasy!)
    But the 3rd wish is the hard one – you are right. I’ll get back to you on that. Hopefully when I do there’ll be a whole list of comments of three wishes to read!
    PS: It’s strange how we are most productive mentally when we have gone to bed, lying there with our minds relaxed, swirling through our archives and dredging up wonderful ideas, things to do tomorrow (which we of course don’t get around to), devising our next painting complete in techniques, stlye and colour; writing the next essay/article/poem/novel. Alas when we get up next morning we are so tired from all that mental activity that we collapse in our chair with a coffee and think how we might get around to something some time. S i g h . . . If only our fickle bodies would keep up with our minds.

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