I think it’s a shame that greed gets such a bad rap. I’m not even talking “seven deadly sin” kind of greed. Even simple, “how ‘bout a little something for me’ kind of thinking is frowned upon in our society. Why do we think that somehow people are more worthy of our esteem if they only wish for others? What’s wrong with wishing for something for ourselves?
Take the contestants in those beauty pageants. When asked what they wish for, they all say they wish for world peace. Do you believe them? I know I don’t. I’m sure that what they’re really wishing is that Miss South Dakota trips on the hem of her evening gown, Miss Kansas screws up her violin concerto, and Miss Hawaii gets a big zit the night of the competition.
Then there’s the month-long Christmas shopping feeding frenzy we are experiencing. In the midst of it, there are a bevy of retailers espousing, “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All.” Do they really want Peace on Earth or do they want their best fourth quarter profits ever? If Peace on Earth isn’t a board game for sale, I know I don’t believe them.
Of course I wish for world peace, too. But that’s more of a hope-for kind of thing than an actual wish. On a more personal level, I’d be happy with simply having peace of mind, a peaceful evening without the kids squabbling, or a peace of pie without guilt (I know, wrong spelling; but homonyms count when you’re wishing).
Before you say, “Bah, humbug,” think about it. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were honest about the fact that we all would like world peace AND a piece of pie?
Kids are truthful. When I asked my kids what they wanted for Hanukkah, they directed me to the Amazon.com web site to read their toy wish lists. It was five pages long and world peace wasn’t anywhere on it.
We’re not even supposed to be greedy on our birthdays. Yeah, you can ask for a sweater or a scarf, but just try asking for what you really want and watch the eyebrows go up. I’ve got a birthday coming up so I’ve been fielding just those questions. “I don’t know,” I say. “I don’t really need anything…” which is true. But whoever said need and want are the same thing? I don’t need a sportscar, but I really want one. Of course, that would be too greedy and a might presumptuous of me to hope that anyone would drop 50 grand on a sportscar for me. But I can ask, can’t I? It is, after all, what I wish for.
When I think about it, most of the things I want are beyond anyone’s ability to give to me. I’d like someone to invent a way to stop traffic jams, I’d like someone to cure the common cold, and I’d like someone to find a way to get my dog to stop shedding. I’d like a house that cleans itself, laundry that washes itself, and kids that don’t need baths.
While we’re at it, I’d like my body to have built in sunscreen, eyelashes that don’t need mascara, and a cure for cellulite.
Not too long ago, I wished for a terrific husband and wonderful children. I wanted a beautiful house to live in and a big yard for the kids to play in. I wanted to live in a great town with good schools, nice neighbors and a caring community. And I wished for the ability to stay home and raise my children and still have a rewarding part-time career.
So who says you can’t get what you wish for?
©2006, Beckerman. All rights reserved. Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column LOST IN SUBURBIA™. For more columns, visit her at www.lostinsuburbia.net