I wish I were better at drawing. I always liked to draw, but I never really put in too much practice, the kind of dedicated time and effort needed to take any sort of talent or hobby and turn it into something better. And so every once in a while I’ll find myself in front a pad with a pen or a pencil in my hand, and I don’t really know what to do, it’s just this amorphous energy that doesn’t know how to express itself through my hands, and I always wind up drawing the same picture of Spider-Man that I taught myself how to trace from memory when I was in the fourth grade.
I really wish I were a professional hockey player. I played hockey all through grade school, never really any good. I didn’t make my high school’s team, and so I had to play for the town league. I remember my first shift from that first game, back when I was fourteen. I was on the ice maybe twenty seconds when I intercepted the puck, skating by myself toward the opponent’s net, sending a wrist shot sailing past the goalie, I had scored. Everyone thought I showed a lot of potential that day, the coach, my parents. I disappointed all of them, proving over the course of the next three years that my experience that day was pure luck, a freak accident where for a brief moment I tricked everybody, even myself, into thinking that I was good at hockey.
I wish I could lift up really heavy objects with my bare hands. Like a car, or giant boulders, really massive stuff that no other human being has ever been able to lift. And I don’t want to be really big, I’d rather keep my non-muscly frame, that way people would be even more shocked when they’d see me raise an entire pickup truck over my head. I wouldn’t have to worry about money, I could just participate in various weightlifting competitions whenever I needed cash, because nobody would pose any real challenge.
If only I could train that family of raccoons that comes out every night from inside of the tree in front of my house. I’ve already given them names, but all of my attempts to domesticate them have proved fruitless. And besides, each time that I see them, I can’t remember who is who, and so how are they supposed to remember what I’m calling them if I can’t even tell them apart? I’ve had dreams where I’d send them on errands, teach them to use their little paws to sweep up the leaves in front of my house. But it’s not happening. They don’t understand that the food I’m putting out for them is supposed to reinforce positive behavior. And honestly, I get a little creeped out by how they hiss at me whenever I get too close.
I wish that a Carl’s Jr. or an In-and-Out would open up on the East Coast. All of the West Coast people would be like, “Oh my God! You guys have no idea what you’re in for! Fast food is so much better in California!” And there’d be a huge line the first day, everybody waiting for their animal-style burgers or whatever you’re supposed to call them. And then after like a week or two the crowds would thin until, finally, at the end of the month, they’d run the figures and realize that they didn’t make enough money to cover rent, that their numbers are all horribly in the red. And so they’d be forced to close up shop, proving once and for all that West Coast fast-food chains are mostly just a lot of unwarranted hype.
I wish that I had ice powers, like Ice Man from the X-Men. That way I wouldn’t have to waste all of my fridge space holding cans of soda and bottles of water. I could just keep them all at room temperature and then shoot them with an icy blast of cold right before pouring them into a frosted glass. All of my glasses would be chilled, and I’d never need to use an air conditioner either, I could just fill my house with a frigid breeze. If anybody ever told me to chill out, I’d make a little snow cloud appear above their head, and I’d laugh as they tried to brush off the snowflakes slowly accumulating on top. I’d say, “No you chill out!” And I’d laugh and laugh.