Letter: Perfect wishes are hard to define


Last night I dreamt that I was walking on the beach in Langley, picking up trash (it’s a habit I work hard to nurture) when I noticed a bottle half buried in the sand. Oddly, my first thought was, what if it isn’t litter? What if it’s a magic lamp? I don’t believe in genies, but I do buy a lotto ticket occasionally so I know I’m prone to self-delusion.

I imagined, just for an instant, that I was about to have three wishes granted. Then I panicked. I didn’t have three wishes, which is one of the downsides of being an avid cynic. I picked up the empty beer bottle and promised myself I would put together a wish list as soon as I got home.

When I got home, in my dream, I asked my family for suggestions. My oldest son spends his winters working in North Dakota so he naturally wished the temperature would never stay below zero for more than eight weeks in a row. My daughter, the scientist, had a more pragmatic wish: never to spend more time searching for an “expert” to confirm her bias on an issue than in examining the issue critically herself. My youngest son, the radical, wished sharks only ate Republicans. He’d rent a little cabin on the California coast, near Laguna, and take up surfing. My wife, the more sensitive member of the family, wished her sense of self worth would never depend upon feeling superior to someone else.

I liked that one but I decided if I could have three wishes granted, I’d want everyone to have free health care, for all nuclear weapons to be banned, and for the world to go 100% renewal energy in the next few years … that would take a really powerful genie.

Verrall Hoover