Off the Press

October 12, 2010

By Bob Taylor

Wishes can come true, um, sort of

One day recently I stopped by a garage sale where they were selling gift bags. The bags, which cost $5, were sealed so customers wouldn’t know the contents until after purchasing one. So I spent $5. Over the years, I’ve wasted money on other meaningless purchases, like lottery tickets. So what’s $5?

When I got home, I opened the bag. There were baseball cards of Dave Cripe (1978 Royals), Gary Cooper (not the actor, 1980 Braves) and Frank Zupo (1961 Orioles) — I had to look these guys up in my Baseball Encyclopedia just to make sure they existed. There was a yo (string was missing, so it wasn’t a complete yo-yo), and an orange tie with purple stars. The bag also had something that looked like Aladdin’s lamp. The lamp was dingy and dusty, and in need of some serious polishing. I gave it a brisk brushing. All of a sudden, smoke poured out of the lamp and a man appeared.

Bob Taylor Press sports editor

“I am the genie of the lamp. My name is Bashar,” the genie said. I later researched the name and discovered he had a Persian name that meant “bringer of glad tidings.”

“Wow! My very own genie,” I thought.

But before I could make a wish, Bashar said, “I must warn you. I am retired. I have no wishes to give you.”

I thought “Oh, man, just my luck. A retired genie.”

Bashar noticing my frown, continued.

“You think you got problems, man. I live in an old genie’s home in Genieapolis, but I’m not sure how long I can afford to stay there. I’m down to my last shekel. I lost all my savings in Enron. I have emphysema from all that smoke I’ve been breathing from the lamp over the years. I have no health care,“ he said.

“If I had a wish, it would be that you could give me three wishes,” Bashar said before disappearing in a poof of smoke.

It’s probably a good thing Bashar left, because my wish list would have had more than three items.

In no order of importance, these are the things I would have wished for:

Wish 1: The Seattle Mariners will get two power hitters and a power pitcher for 2011, so they don’t duplicate the horrible 2010 season.

Wish 2: That politicians will set aside their petty party differences, stop trying to torpedo each other and work together to solve our nation’s major issues.

Wish 3: That there were more groups of middle school students like those who attend Issaquah Christian Church. These students recently held a garage sale (no this wasn’t where I purchased the lamp) to raise money for the building of the church’s new sanctuary. With students like these, we know the future of our country will be in good hands one day.

Wish 4: That terrorist groups will end their wars and work with nations to battle the wars of hunger, AIDS, poverty and pollution.

Wish 5: That there more organizations like Make-A-Wish, which makes wishes come true for sick children.

Wish 6: That scientists and doctors will find cures for spina bifida, autism, sickle cell anemia and other serious maladies that afflict children.

Wish 7: That scientists and doctors find cures for  cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, ALS and MS.

Wish 8: That all Issaquah School District athletic teams will have winning records this school year.

Wish 9: That our troops overseas will get the support they need before returning home again.

Wish 10: That there will always be large salmon runs in our local creeks, so that future generations can enjoy these fish and celebrate Issaquah Salmon Days.

You see, there’s no way Bashar could have handled that list. Some people would call it a pipe dream. But it doesn’t hurt to dream.

Oh, from that grab bag, I kept the baseball cards but donated the other items to our neighborhood garage sale. The lamp sold for $2.50.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Comment at

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