I accidentally made a wish on Twitter the other day, and the friend I had voiced this wish to granted it. Which immediately triggered some backpedalling and revision, on my part. It didn’t take long for me to come up with three wishes. I think the three wishes I will make, when I find a djinn to grant them, are pretty foolproof – an important consideration when you realise that the djinni are basically required by contract to misinterpret your wishes as wickedly as possible. These wishes also cover all the bases.
Here they are.
1) The ability to fly the same way I can in dreams.
I dither on this one. Flight, or shape-shifting? Both appeal. I’d love to be four-legged at will. Imagine going to Croydon and transforming into a tiger! Or to be a bird sometimes, or to swim the Atlantic as a really big shark (so the existing really big sharks couldn’t mess with me). But the potential for a djinn to screw this one up is simply too big. “Oh suuuure, you can change shape into a wolf,” cackles the djinn, “or a horse, or a great griffin. Knock yerself out, babe.” He leans back and cleans his nails on a janbiya. Flushed with enthusiasm I transform, and POOF! Suddenly I also have the brain and personality of a wolf, or a horse, or a griffin. And that’s pretty much game over, right there. A sharp-shooter. A net. A dart in the left buttock and the rest of my career is spent behind bars in London Zoo, glaring with dumb resentment at … well, at everything.
Like many people, I fly in my dreams quite often. This simply involves me deciding to fly. I lift my feet, and up I go. No wings, no jetpack. It’s not fast. More like the upward progress of a balloon filled with gas that is only a little less dense than air. I bob about, over trees and such, selecting a direction and going in it. Sometimes I land in a tree. Deliberately. I don’t want you thinking I’m incompetent at this flying business. It all seems entirely reasonable and achievable in my dreams. Imagine my disappointment in real life, when I’m often floored by my own inability to get up a kerbstone. The world is always nice and green in these dreams, and the landscape hilly and wet. For this reason, I always check, when I go to a place that is hilly and wet, to see whether I can in fact fly.
It might be location-dependent. I haven’t given up. If you ever catch me in the Lake District, with my trouser legs bunched up in my fists and a strained look on my face, I am trying to fly, ok? Not whatever YOU thought.
2) A giant robot to carry me about and look after me tenderly.
Look, I get very tired. It’s a fatigue condition thing. At 42 you can’t just hop onto someone’s shoulders for a piggy-back. Most people react badly to this and children, the elderly, and the frail are frankly crushed beyond recognition. A practical solution must be found.
I’m not talking about quite a big robot that would have to throw me over its shoulder. That’s going to get uncomfortable very quickly, on account of it having metal shoulders. I’m talking about one so huge, so unimaginably vast, that I could curl up in its giant robotly fist in a big duvet and sleep in supreme safety and comfort while it walked about. Or it might go to sleep as well, I don’t mind. I hope if it walks about, it does so carefully, not trampling villages and idly knocking down church spires. But at the end of the day, I’m asleep in the fist of a giant robot. I don’t really care, suckaz.
3) For everyone to hold the same opinions I do.
Sorry, but this one is GENIUS. This is the wish that gets around that annoying djinn clause where you’re not allowed to wish for infinite wishes. If you wish for this, you do not need infinite wishes.
You want to rule the universe? Everyone else wants you to, as well. Want world peace? Guess what: so does everyone else. Want people to stop stoning people to death? You get the idea. And they won’t just want it in an abstract way. They’d all – ALL OF THEM – actually agree with exactly the way you view it.
Now, clearly I am a shining beacon of humanity, humility and hyoomnifnity (sorry, but you’re always supposed to have lists of things in threes, apparently, and I can’t think of a third quality starting with “hyoom” right now). Not everyone can make so bold a claim. I can see how this last wish could be a terrible thing in the wrong hands. Imagine David Cameron making this wish. We’d be stoning the poor to death by lunchtime tomorrow simply because they were poor and therefore (we would all think), alien and morally repugnant. What if Eamonn Holmes got his hands on this wish? Jeremy Clarkson? NADINE DORRIES FFS?
So for that reason I’m claiming copyright on wish number 3. You may not use it. HA!