Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?
“Three adventures.” The genie said. ”I know, it’s a bit of a twist but I’m trying to think outside of the box here.” He crossed his arms and stared at me. “Come on, come on – hurry up or I’m going back in the lamp. I ain’t got all day.”
“Let me get this straight. I can go into any book or movie and share the adventures depicted? Become one of the characters?”
“You got it Bud.” The genie said.
“I can be Maverick from Top Gun and fly those bitchin’ airplanes? Or I can be Romeo and experience the unbridled and complete love of Juliet?”
“Yeah, that’s about the size of it but you get one more choice. How about one of those caveman flicks? Huh?”
“I don’t want those other two,” I said, “I was just using them for illustration and, I don’t think caveman is the place for me either. I only need one choice and I’ll be set forever.”
“All right smart guy. What is it then? Hurry up, the game’s on and I don’t wanna miss it.”
“Walter Mitty, man I wanna hang with Walter Mitty. His imagination is so real. He has such adventures. I want to go where he goes, do what he does, and experience what he experiences.”
“You sure?” asks the genie.
“Yeah man. Let’s do this.”
The genie crossed his arms and blinked, just like Barbara Eden used to do on that show. As he did I thought how that mighta been a good choice – Barbara Eden was a babe, I coulda had my own genie and she didn’t limit the wishes. But I was committed and I was transported. I found myself in a large, busy office filled with desks. I knew I had gone back in time – no one had computers. There were typewriters and mimeograph machines and people scurrying back and forth. I was standing in front of Walter Mitty’s desk.
I knew it was him because he looked a lot like Danny Kaye or Jimmy Stewart or somebody and there was a nameplate lined up with the front edge of his desk that read “Walter Mitty”. He had his chin on his hand and a faraway look in his eyes. He was off on one of his great adventures. I could tell. I’ve seen the movies.
“Wait a minute, this isn’t what I wanted. Genie, I want to be with his imagination not with his physical self. Let me choose again.”
The genie’s voice came to me then, reverberating through the office, “Sorry dude, you said you only wanted one pick and you got it. You shoulda been more specific. I gotta go the second half’s starting.”
When the genie spoke everyone in the office stopped what they were doing and looked around to see where the voice was coming from. Everyone but Walter, who never noticed. He just continued to stare, transfixed, at something only he could see. Eventually and gradually people went back to what they were doing. I pulled up a chair and sat across from Walter, resigned to my fate. The genie was right, I shoulda been more specific. Guess I’ll have to develop my own imagination now.
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