Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Wish

Earlier this week a friend asked me what my wish was. The question totally stumped me.

“If wishes were horses then dreamers would ride,” came immediately to mind, but when I Googled the phrase, I found out I’ve had it wrong for years. The correct phrase is, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.”

I learned the phrase from my friend J who was citing lyrics to a 70’s rock song. Google as I may, I have not been able to find the song and validate my mislearning from so long ago. I think J may have just misheard the lyrics and recited them the way he heard them.

Or maybe he didn’t know what he was talking about.

And that analytical tangent is why I don’t wish. I begin to evaluate all the factors necessary to make something happen and the various what-ifs. My wishes turn into cerebral chess matches as the “gonna-happen” side and the “never-gonna-happen” side battle for dominance of my reality. Google, Wikipedia, and the American Heritage Dictionary (1983 paperback edition) always have a say.

In fact the dictionary’s role in my daily life became topic of a debate when I realized that it was indeed the 1983 edition (the first major new dictionary in 10 years the cover proclaims!). Twenty-five years later terminology for devices that didn’t exist back then dominates our functional vocabulary. The very technology that has made the old dictionary obsolete also makes the purchase of a new one unnecessary. I have the Internet on my phone – I don’t even have to have access to a computer.

And so, I forgot how to wish a long time ago which is really a shame. Some magical spark disappears when wishes evaporate from the consciousness. Maybe it’s a skill we lose when we forget to use it or grow up to find that wishing isn’t allowed. Children all master the skill, but between childhood and adulthood, except for a talented few, wishing goes away.

Star light
Star bright
First star
I see tonight

I wish I may
I wish I might
Have this wish
I wish tonight:

I wish to wish again.
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