Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Waste a Wish

It all started in 1982 when I was 6 years old.

I got into trouble and had to take a half-hour timeout. I remember thinking that a half-hour meant an hour and a half, assuming that “half” was in addition to the hour. So when I sat down on the couch to do my stretch of time, I knew I was in for a long haul.

The first five minutes of my sentence was torture. After 15 minutes, I was convinced that I’d be old and gray before my time-out expired. Each minute felt like a decade, even though, at 6, I hadn’t yet experienced a decade.

Silently, I wished that time would speed up. I knew it was unlikely that my wish would come true, but I figured wishing couldn’t hurt.

After 20 minutes, time wasn’t moving any faster, and it seemed like the clock was ridiculing me, saying, “You think that long wait for Christmas morning and presents took forever? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, pal.”

So I verbalized my wish loud and clear -- I didn’t care who heard me.

Before I knew it, my half-hour time-out was over. And the wait wasn’t all that bad, especially since I was expecting to be “put away” for an hour and a half. I was convinced that my wish to speed up time had come true.

Years later, when I was 15, I bought a beat up old truck, planning to rebuild it before I got my driver’s license on my 16th birthday.

That 15th year of life was the longest year ever -- I came to that conclusion after only the first month. I was extremely anxious to drive, and the massive undertaking of rebuilding a vehicle from the frame up, which was as much fun as sorting through a massive stack of lawn trimmings and organizing the blades of grass by their height, didn’t help speed up time.

After three months of work on my truck, I decided I wouldn’t live long enough to experience my 16th birthday, and I’d certainly never see my little automobile project completed. So, just as I’d done in that timeout when I was 6, I wished out loud for time to speed up.

Guess what? It worked. In no time, I was 16 years old with my driver’s license in hand, I was finished with my truck, and I was driving it. Life was great.

Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to test my wishing powers on something other than speeding up time. Had I been conscious of my abilities, I might’ve asked for something more worthy like $1 million or a fourth “Godfather” film in the franchise. Instead, at 18 years of age, I wasted another precious wish.

Before I started college, I wished that the four years ahead of me would race by. Believe it or not, my college years did just that.

After graduation, time continued moving at a fast pace. I met a girl, we got married, we bought a house . . . Pretty soon, I got to thinking that time was moving a little too fast. So I made a wish to slow down time.

Nothing happened.

I guess you’re only granted three wishes at birth, and I wasted all three of mine before I was 30.
Time is still fleeting. Just last week, my son started kindergarten. I could swear he was born only yesterday.

-August 2008

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