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Consider negative side effects to wishes, prayers

Let’s do a thought experiment: What if you were offered one wish or prayer, what would you ask for?

We should establish a few ground rules before we go forward. You are limited to things within your immediate circle; you can’t ask for world peace, killing Hitler as a baby or adding ice to the poles. You cannot ask for anything beyond your own lifetime, and you can’t ask for something which breaks physics (no immortality). Working within these restrictions, let’s begin.

I imagine the most popular would be wealth. Winning the lottery would be the easiest way to achieve this outcome. What can go wrong? What happens when someone gains wealth overnight? Usually, if someone hasn’t been taught how to manage money, they lose that money relatively quickly. Would you go buy a new car? How about three? A new house? How about one in the Bahamas and one in Paris? At the behest of your lawyer, you invest some, but you want to live large and damn the consequences.

The money you had goes quickly, so does the house in Paris and the one in the Bahamas. You are able to retire but not until after many legal battles between you and your family over the money. Even your children turn on you. No, I’m not sure large amounts of wealth would necessarily be beneficial. However, to be fair, it is entirely possible that a good financial investor comes along and settles most of these issues before they become issues and you can live the life of the wealthy until you die, passing along your wealth to your children. Isn’t this already possible through hard work and being prudent with your finances?

What if you wished to be famous? How would that look? YouTube famous or Hollywood famous? Bollywood famous? Do you really want people chasing after you for pictures, going through your garbage or expecting you to know them just because they know everything about you? How would that affect your family? Some people would love fame, but I imagine the majority of us would be pretty miserable after awhile.

Let’s do something simple like being healthy. What if, to be healthy, you have to exercise daily, change your eating habits (no more beer and hot wings diet) and become an active participant within your own life for your own benefit? Guaranteed health, but not long life. What happens if you are in a car accident? This scenario can also be achieved without wishes or magical powers.

What about something as simple as being able to sleep throughout the night? Seems pretty simple, right? What can go wrong with that one? What if there is a fire, break in or other event requiring your attention? Just things to think about.

Me, you ask? Well, I would ask that my children be granted wisdom, long lives, good health, contentment and just enough sorrow to make them well rounded. What can go wrong with this one?

Thomas White | Depauw, Ind.