A Birthday Wish List: Part 2
#7: A wish-fulfillment fantasy. Sometimes, bad things happen to bad people, and the spirit of Schadenfreude takes hold. Like the feeling you get when that jerk in the Trans Am who cut you off three minutes ago gets pulled over for speeding, you know? When we were kids, my brother and sister had this odd habit. If my brother got punished, my sister would rub her hand over her breastbone and say, "Aaaaaah." She pronounced it with a guttural flare, as if the sound came from deep within her viscera. If my sister got punished, my brother would return the favor. Since I had a cast iron ass, they got little satisfaction in seeing me punished, and any "Aaaahing" from them would be met by my laughter. It seems to me that as adults, we get to say "Aaaaaah" far too infrequently. What better birthday present could there be than to see a rich and powerful hypocrite brought low? What I dream of: George Bush caught on tape telling us what he really thinks about the displaced poor of New Orleans. Pat Robertson indicted on child pornography charges. One day, at a press conference, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says, "You know, folks? This is all bullshit -- I mean, I could tell you stories that would knock your socks off. Aw, hell. No time like the present." Rush Limbaugh . . . wait. He's already shot himself in the foot so many times, what else could happen to the guy? What I'll be satisfied with: Photoshopping rude images of Ann Coulter. #6: The perfect father for just one day. Remember the sitcoms of the 1960s? In Father Knows Best, Jim Anderson was, like a modern day Odysseus, never at a loss. No matter what you threw at the guy, he handled it with sensitivity and style. Princess having boy trouble with those creeps from the local frat? Jim would bust a cap in their ass and dance a jig on their graves. Kitten having menstrual cramps? Jim would give her a few tokes from his pipe and teach her the secrets of Far Eastern meditation. Bud busted for having the neighborhood's first methamphetamine lab? Jim would post bail and buy his son a trampoline so that the boy can channel his energy more constructively. I want to be that kind of dad, if only for a day. You know. The kind that never raises his voice, solves every problem, and finds himself at the center of every group hug. What I dream of: A day wherein I'm the perfect father to my son. What I'll be satisfied with: Not raising my voice above 80 decibels, and not making the kid cry. #5: The great discovery! As a kid, I used to fantasize about black ops agents coming to my school and spiriting me away from my classmates. "You're far too important to our nation's security to waste your time here," one would say. Then the other would chime in: "We need a four-foot-tall boy genius to man our special space ship. This craft will make you the master of space and time. Do you think you can handle it?" And I'd think: Can I handle it? Fuck yeah! Only I wouldn't have used the F-bomb back in elementary school. I'd heard it once or twice, soon learned it wasn't in the dictionary, and was the only word guaranteed to put my mother in shock. Oddly enough, the word "frig" seemed to have the same effect, even though I was certain I'd made it up. Guess not. Nowadays, I don't particularly care to be the master of all time and space. As I learned in high school from watching the movie Laserblast, absolute power corrupts absolutely. I'm already a corrupt son of a bitch. No, I'd be content if someone else discovered me. What I dream of: Some big agent, say Neil Gaiman's agent Merrilee Heifetz, finds my blog and sends me an email dripping with praise and wishful solicitations. Then comes The Phone Call (cue Scarlet O'Hara's vocal inflections): "Oh, Dr. Hoffman, Ah am evah so hopeful that you are unrepresented, because it would be mah honah and privilege to be your agent." Don't know if Ms. Heifetz has a Southern accent -- actually, I kind of doubt it -- but that's part of the fantasy. I'm sure she'd oblige. What I'll be satisfied with: Getting my damned sitemeter to top 100 for the day. Where the hell do you people go on the weekend? Don't tell me you have lives. Gimme Part 3! D.