Thursday, 30 May 2013

If I Had Five Wishes ...

I often wish that I could add something to my life to make it even more enjoyable than it is at the moment and I started thinking about what I would wish for if a genie popped out of my teapot and offered to grant me a few wishes.

To be honest, there are simply too many to be able to write down all my wishes in a single blog post so I will simply list, what I like to think of, as my geek wishes, i.e. wishes that are straight out of the mind of the creators of my favourite science fiction movies and shows.

Here are five for you to ponder.

1. Observational Time Travel

I would love the ability to be able to observe past events first hand without actually being there. As I’ve got older I’ve become more fascinated with history and, in particular, significant events that shaped the world in which we live.

For example, I would love to be able to pop back to the court of King Henry VIII to watch the tyrannical King in action.

How about popping across the pond to see who really shot John F. Kennedy?

Or visiting Jerusalem to listen to what Jesus had to say, first hand?

Or maybe wander around Hitler’s bunker at the end of the Second World War to observe his demise?

Sadly, my German is nowhere near good enough to understand the ranting and raving of Adolf Hitler as his world crumbles around him. I would need a second wish.

2. Universal Translator

Whenever Dr Who lands on a distant planet, the TARDIS translates the speech of the indigenous aliens. Similarly whenever the Starship Enterprise makes contact with an alien species, the Universal Translator makes sure that both parties totally understand each other before all hell breaks loose.

My next wish would be to have the ability to understand not only all human languages on earth but also to be able to make sense of any attempts by animals to communicate with me or other creatures.

Can you imagine being able to talk to your cat? I’m sure, in my case, my three cats would say:


Poppy: Leave me alone; I’m terrified.

Liquorice: What can I attack next?

To be honest my desire to have a built in Universal Translator stems from my love of travel. Although English is fairly widely spoken, and I have a smattering of French and German with a hint of Spanish, my inability to communicate with the local people is deeply frustrating. I certainly make an effort but Chinese people would like to hear me say more than just:

“Waiter! The bill please!” 

Japanese and Russian people want more entertaining conversation than:

 “Hello! Beer! Thanks! Goodbye!” 

I still love to travel though. And I would love to make it easier – which leads me nicely onto my third wish.

3. Teleportation

Many science fiction shows introduce the concept of teleportation. Star Trek has its transporter and other shows have similar devices to get a person or object from A to B in the blink of an eye.

Regular readers will know that although I love to travel, I hate travelling, i.e. sitting on board a metal sausage for twelve hours in a space that can barely accommodate a child let alone an adult male like myself.  As well as the discomfort, the time difference, the length of time it takes and the ignominy of having to be nice to immigration officers and customs officials is another source of irritation.

If I had the ability to teleport instantaneously anywhere in the world, I could pop to a restaurant in Hong Kong and then pop back to feed the cats.

I could materialise into an electronics shop in Tokyo , buy the latest must have gadget and still be home for tea.

I could look outside at the good old British summer, turn my back on the torrential rain and pop along to a glorious beach in Barbados.

I could beam into any major concert or sporting event worldwide and watch it for free and even get up close and personal with the stars of the show during the after show party.

I’d have to make sure that I had some sort of navigation system to make sure that I don't materialise in the middle of a ladies changing or, worse, where a cruise ship had been ten minutes earlier, or even worse, in Piers Morgan's house.

I imagine that I might get a little bored with travelling the planet and wish to spread my wings a bit further afield.

How about a fourth wish?

4. Observational Space Travel

Although I really do want to keep my feet firmly on planet Earth, I would love to be able to observe other planets, again without having to actually travel there. Imagine you could project yourself to the centre of the huge hurricane raging on the planet Jupiter?

How about perching yourself on the summit of Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano on Mars?

Or following in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and seeing Earth from the moon?

Why stop there? There are billions upon billions of stars and potentially several billion gazillions of planets out there, far too many to see in a human lifetime.

And that’s a problem. Here’s where wish number five comes in.

5. Immortality

With the progress of technology in the past 50 or so years, I envisage huge leaps and bounds in the next few hundred years and am deeply annoyed that I won’t be around to witness it first-hand. Immortality combined with the other wishes above would mean that for the remainder of my existence I would be able to enjoy bearing witness to the development and evolution of the human race.

Like most of the human beings I want to live forever so my final geek wish is immortality and the ability to grant or revoke that gift from any other human being. I would need this latter part to ensure that friends and family were immortal too (unless they annoyed me in which case I would take away their privilege).

Of course, there are downsides to being immortal and I’m sure that you can suggest many. For example, one day the world will end or become hostile to humanity; for example if pollution and global warming make the Earth uninhabitable, a giant asteroid collides with the planet or the huge volcano under Yellowstone national park finally erupts.

The Yellowstone Caldera, which erupted so spectacularly in the movie 2012, is absolutely huge (measuring 34 miles by 45 miles). The last eruption was 64,000 years ago – apparently we are due another.

That’s scary and being immortal when that happens might be an unpleasant experience, watching the world disintegrate around me.

Nevertheless I would go for it because I think it is a risk worth taking.

I guess ultimately I want to end up being Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation. For those of you who don’t watch Star Trek, Q is an omnipotent being with a mischievous streak.

Sounds like that might be fun.

There will be more wishes in a future post, perhaps a lot less selfish, a little more realistic, more global and a little more serious.

In the meantime, over to you, dear reader. What would be your geek wishes? 


Big D said...

Top of my list would be my own personal space/time portal. Step through and I'm wherever I want to be.
I can't think of anything else for the moment. My own armoured Zeppelin, maybe.

Elephant's Child said...

Decidedly language, including that our the household cats. I suspect if nothing else I would learn some new swear words from Jazz and the additional warning about imminent attacks would come in handy.

A personal Tardis. I would love to zip where-ever and when-ever without planes or queues or immigration (or many other passengers).

This might sound like a minor and indeed trivial wish - but I would like ENOUGH sleep. I want to wake up not feeling tired. And I would like the flexibility of a cat. And the relaxation skills of almost any animal.

River said...

Geek wishes? Hmmm......5 regular wishes I could rattle off in no time at all, but geek stuff?
#1 would have to be universal translator, able to speak, understand, read an write all languages. Imagine the job opportunities!
#2 A Stargate at my home, linked to the homes of all my family, no more waiting for a bus or taxi, no more getting on planes, which I do enjoy, but a Stargate would be faster.
#3 I don't think I'd like immortality, I wouldn't be happy seeing all the world dying while I kept on, but I'd like an extra 100 or 50 years.
#4 I'd like to be the type of computer whizz (super hacker skills)that instantly understands all computers and operates them without having to call my daughter for help.
#5 I would like to be a genius that understands math and science as well as the most genius person in the world, while still retaining normality and people skills.

H2B said...

You pretty much covered it Mr PM! Mind controlling could come in handy. Or evening Mind-reading/Telepathy will be great. Charisma can't go awry.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

An armoured Zeppelin? My mind is boggling ...




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Being a cat seems so easy. My three sleep and sleep and, in between sleeps, they nap.

I would be envious if they lived as long as we do.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

They sound like good wishes to me. I'm okay with #4 and #5 but not perfect by any means.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

Mind control and telepathy - now I need to go back to that genie and ask for two more geek wishes.