Thursday, February 28, 2013

If Wishes Were Horses

We all wish for stuff.  Aladdin's magic lamp and all that.  Birthday candles.  Wells and pools.  Or just plain dreaming.  But do we ever wonder how the wishes might come true? Or what might happen if they did?  We just sort of expect the wish to come true as we think it should but if it were simply fulfilled to the letter of the spoken wish, there are any number of options.  And if we did win the lottery what effect would it have on our lives?

I have not seen a study on the after effects of winning big but have read that the winners usually end up broke soon after or in worse financial straits than they were.  This isn't a problem with people who already have money but it certainly is for us blue collar types.

I have heard many people describe what they would do with BIG money; 10, 20, 40 million.  It was all a list of conspicuous consumption articles, houses and trips. Unless they were farmers.  Then they would just pay their debts and buy a hamburger with the change. But no one talks about investing, charity or family.

Or weight loss - I wished I could lose 50 ugly pounds and my kids told me to cut off my head.  I get no respect.  But think of it this way - you want to lose 30 lbs?  How much of one leg would you have to lose in an accident to equal 30 pounds?

Any of my readers who are either short story fans or horror story fans or both will no doubt have read "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs.  Written in 1902, it is the classic tale of wishes come true.

"It had a spell put on it by an old fakir," said the sergeant-major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lives, and that those who interfered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it." *** "The first man had his three wishes, yes," was the reply. "I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death. That's how I got the paw."


Keep on wishing but best not hope for them to come true. They might.

12 comments:

  1. "my kids told me to cut off my head. I get no respect."

    As you wrote the above, I was creating a post about Rodney Dangerfield--are you a fan of his? Anyway, tell your kids that their humor is decades, at least, older than they are.

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    1. Been a long time fan of Rodney Dangerfield. The line was his. My jokes are decades older than me.

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  2. "Unless they were farmers. Then they would just pay their debts and buy a hamburger with the change." - LOL! The sad truth is if you can actually afford to go into farming, you have no reason to work at all... you could just retire.

    I do remember The Monkey's Paw - it creeped me out when I first read it, and it still does. One phrase that gets repeated frequently in our household is "Be careful what you wish for".

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    1. No one "goes into farming" cold turkey i.e. out of the clear blue buys a viable operating farm (unless they sell one elsewhere first). Most farmers started on the home farm and gradually worked into it, usually with huge debts for land machinery and operating. Anyone with the cash to start cold turkey could as you say retire and make more off interest than farming.

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    2. That's the problem - the family farms are dwindling as the young people move to the city instead of taking over the farm. Mega-operators buy up their land and it's a one-way street - even if there were people out there who'd like to begin farming on a smaller scale, the startup costs are prohibitive. I'm sad to see big business taking over, but I don't see any other eventual outcome.

      I'm still clinging to the last of the family farm, but I can't afford to farm it - I just rent it out to a neighbour. I have no kids, so you can see where it'll end...

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    3. Dad's land is rented out. My siblings own it; they bought my share. When they are gone it will be sold, I am sure. The renters are men who took over their father's farms and are expanding just to stay even. Per unit margins get thinner every year. All technological progress benefits the Early Adopters and then ultimately the consumers in lower food prices. The least efficient drop off each year.

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  3. i often whisper my wishes to my sexy wife - and sometimes they come true. i know what i am hoping for this week-end.

    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I'm going to make you the happiest woman on earth.
      I'll miss you.

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  4. You must have heard the joke about the farmer who wins Mega Millions. When he's asked what's he going to do next, he replies, "I'll just keep farming like I am now until the money runs out."

    I did know someone who went into farming cold turkey. An acquaintance was in her 20s when she inherited a significant amount of money and decided to "get back to the land." She and her husband bought a dairy farm and spent years pouring money into it trying to make the farm viable. End result? A divorce, a depleted trust fund, and now that she's in her mid-60s she's working a minimum wage job to survive. As far as I can tell, her big mistake was not understanding the local context: there never were (and still aren't) any farms around here where farming is the sole source of income. People were (and are) farmers and loggers or farmers and truck drivers or farmers and mechanics.

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    1. I feel sorry for the lady. Dairy farming is not for amateurs, though it is at least in Canada, a profitable business. Obviously she did not do a business plan, nor get some on hand experience first.
      The most important asset for a young farmer is a wife who is a teacher or a nurse. She can support his habit as every nickle he makes most of his life will go back into the farm. And likely he too will need that second job you refer to. All I ever wanted to do in my life was farm and raise cattle but I could never see a decent living for my family doing it.

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  5. That is why I just farm/ranch for fun and can't quit my day job. The most fun about getting a lot of money would be giving it away.

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  6. Jono, that is exactly my sentiments about winning the lottery. How much good could I do with the money? Family, charity, Alma Mater...

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