I recently had the extreme good fortune of finding a magic lamp at my local flea-market. Ever since I was a kid I thought about what I would pick if I ever did find a Genie so I was ready with my three wishes as soon as I was asked. I put a lot of thought over the years into what my three wishes should be (just in case) and made my choices carefully. 1. A cherry red Ferrari. 2. A lifetime supply of Skittles. 3. The world’s biggest and best collection of Elvis figurines. My dilemma is this, my Genie informs me that due to inflation I get a fourth wish! I never prepared for this and don’t know what to choose. I am leaning towards either the ability to breathe fire or a time machine. What do you advise?

Puzzled in Perth


Interestingly, there is no requirement for a released Djinn to go about offering wishes in triplicate. The extra was likely because he believed that you would wish him free. Don’t do that. At least, not unless you know exactly what this particular Djinn did to earn such treatment. The last thing you want to do is end up releasing a supernatural serial killer on the planet – heaven knows we have enough of those. 

On a similar token, don’t wish for ultimate power, intelligence, or something else that could be deliberately misinterpreted for revenge. I suggest wishing for a small ice cream sundae. You certainly weren’t planning on getting something else anyway.


One Million Ducks


Why exactly are the kinds of things going around granting wishes so obsessed with interpreting them in the worst possible light? It’s just so inconvenient. Who benefits?

One Million Ducks in Wiscasset

1M Ducks,

I know the behaviour to which you are referring, but most beings that can grant wishes don’t actually do this. You, for example, have probably not done this and yet if you started scattering dried corn about you right now, you would be satisfying the wishes of (I assume) roughly a million lesser beings.

Those who are really into the high-visibility wish-granting game (leprechauns, captive djinn, certain wells, the elder fae, etc.) are usually doing it with an ulterior motive. In most cases, that motive is art. When you are a thing out of time, (meaningfully distinct from immortal) you start prioritizing your actions and use of time differently. There’s an entire camp of creatures who have gravitated toward an outlandish appreciation for irony. Simple as that. There’s whole museums dedicated to the great dickery of the past, and many a young spirit has admired the flourishes of particularly cruel fairy godmothers.

Who benefits? They do. Because in your vanity you asked for a million followers and that’s exactly what you’ve been given. They just did it in a way that would win them street cred within the semi-abstracted community.