With no shame I reveal that over years I have worked at otherwise idle times on deciding what I would wish for from a genie. This requires a lot of thought because, at least in popular culture, the genie is a capricious and contrary wish giver, angry over his servitude and eager to exploit the wisher’s slightest semantic slip to deliver a result that is technically correct and totally wrong.
An innocent wish to be a millionaire, for instance, could result in becoming some schmo in a McMansion in Henderson, Nev., with exactly $1 million ... and it’s all tied up in a stock that crashes the next day. One could wish to be as smart as Einstein ... and the genie might grant that but put the wisher in a coma, as well, unable to communicate any knowledge or insight.
Real petty “Twilight Zone” nonsense.
So the trick is to come up with wishes without loopholes, and I think I have some good ones. I have made sure to keep the actual wishes — usually there are three, and, as everyone knows, it is against the rules to wish for more — at a single sentence in length.
Listen up, genie:
1. I wish that a multimillionaire or billionaire who is a citizen of and will die in the United States or United Kingdom within the next month or two summon his lawyers, has them fill out the proper documents and wills me an unquestionably legal and unassailably proper inheritance of at least [how many millions of dollars are wanted] after all taxes and any legal fees.
(The provision about the United States or United Kingdom is to ensure that a perfectly legal financial transaction isn’t slowed interminably by dramatically different inheritance laws or cultural or linguistic difficulties.)
2. I wish for total, lasting and conscious control over every aspect of my physical being, including but not limited to strength and speed, general health and resistance to all disease and every aspect of how I look and the aging process, and that these powers be manifested by thought or speech but persist until I again consciously and wakefully think or say for the attributes to change.
(This wish still has at least one unavoidable ironic trap, which is that the wisher can remain eternally young, but those the wisher loves will inevitably age and die. Still, this is a very flexible wish, and the emotionally mature user may well use it to age and die gracefully and without pain. Also ...)
There is a wish remaining, held for some future emergency.
Does anyone spot any loopholes a willful genie could exploit? I’d like to address them before it’s too late.