Saturday, August 27, 2022

Where we learn to do wishing well

Insert your own "sharin'" pun here.. 

“Do you think,” I asked my wife Helena, “that wishing works?” 

 Helena: “Huh?” 

Me: “If you want something really really badly, do you think wishing -- with all your might -- helps?"

Her, with not even a nanosecond's hesitation: “No.” 

She then said she remembered wishing for lots of things when she was a little girl and most of them never happened. 

“So what?" I should have said at the time but didn't because I just thought of it now. "I’ve sure gone fishing a lot but way most times I didn't catch anything. Does that mean fishing doesn’t work? No, it does not." 

For the record, we were having this conversation just yesterday, in our black Volkswagen Beetle; a.k.a, the only car the very design of which makes people smile. We were stuck in heavy traffic on the expressway between our home in Toronto and my cousin Sharon Van Noort’s place in Niagara Falls. Sharon is one of my favourite people; she and her husband of 42 years, 11 months and a few days Rob run a flower business in a village called Virgil, Ontario, and I wish only good things for  them and their spectacular family for the rest of their lives. I'll tell you about the purpose of our visit in another blog but right now, that's beside the point.

I told Helena the wishing thing reminded me of a famous wishing experiment that she had probably never heard of before.

I filled her in.

of acid-heads trying to get some exorcise.
Back in the '60s,  a bunch of anti-war hippies thought that if they surrounded the Pentagon in Washington and concentrated hard enough, they could levitate the building 30 feet in the air and, as they put it, "exorcise" it. 

I am not making this up. A few hundred thousand well wishers (see what I did there?) attended.

As I understand it, the hippies hoped to ring the Pentagon but security officials didn't let them. Many believed the success of the levitation depended on the hippies forming a complete circle. That did not  happen. So, the levitation never occured.  As I said to Helena, "Who knows what might have happened? Right??"

Then she asked, why the heck would I know this? 

Easy answer. I had all sorts of older brothers and sisters and cousins who told me important stuff I needed to know. I knew about hippies before other kids my age did. And Woodstock and Lenny Bruce. I was (many might say am) the luckiest human who ever walked this planet. My family spoiled me something perfect. In fact, six days ago Helena and I were walking through the Courage My Love vintage store in Kensington Market and I spotted a little boy's cowboy shirt that resembled a get-up that belonged to five-year-old me. "When I was a kid," I commented, "if I wished for something I never had to ask twice!" 

She reminded me of that after I had finished tellling her of the failed levitation experiment.. 

Also, I should mention, by that time, traffic had cleared and we were back to highway speed, heading to Sharon's.

Me (I have to admit I was pretty happy about the traffic moving along and it showed with the way I was gesturing): "See Helena? See that? Back when I asked if you thought wishing worked, I was wishing hard for the traffic to clear up! 

And look!"

Her: "And I wish you'd drive with at least one hand on the wheel." I stopped gesturing. Resumed the 10-to-two position. 

Ha. About 12 minutes earlier, she'd said wishing didn't work.


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