Ask Me Anything

It’s the usual Sunday afternoon and you are staring at your navel wondering what to do with your life.

You are disturbed by someone knocking at your door. You get the door and lo-freaking-behold there’s a lamp at your doorstep. Your heart’s having a mild-earthquake because this ain’t no ordinary lamp. It’s The lamp. Your life’s about to change.  A butt ugly man version of a mermaid cum animatedly annoying gaseous goofball smokes out of the lamp and asks you to make three wishes. For an omnipotent being, that’s a pretty shitty entrance.

We have all played out some version of the three-wishes thought experiment at different points in life. The wishes evolve from simple, sincere, and dumb to a point in life when there’s so much we need, we don’t know what to ask. That’s why a popular first wish is, I wish for 1000 wishes. May as well be the tag line of the 21st century.

Given how much we wish the magic lamp happens to you (and, somewhat secretly, only you) at some point, I thought I should tell you about the time when this situation actually played out. And maybe it will help your decision when the Genie shows up outside your door.

Sigh. The things I do for humanity.

About 2300 years ago, this guy, Diogenes, was having his usual day of basking under the sun and doing what he does best: Nothing.

Goofball shows up.

Name: Alexander the Great. A grand entrance, this one — for he’s brought his entire army along. Good boy Alex; the Undertaker will be proud.

Alexander stood in front of Diogenes and told Diogenes he could ask for anything and that Alexander would make it happen. This isn’t some wonky Genie talking. Alexander owned the world.

And here’s what Diogenes asked:

Could you step aside? You are blocking my sun.

Unfunny Factoid: Diogenes was a beggar.

Not quite the end of the story. Because guess who eventually did some wishing? Alexander the great. And here’s what he wished:

I wish I were Diogenes.

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