Genies and Queens

          I met a genie when I was sixteen. Seriously. The thing came out of a lamp I found right behind a Baskin Robins with a wisp of smoke just like in the cartoons. The guy was a trope. He had the sash and the long eyebrows and the archetypical accent. It was hard to take him seriously, reinforcing stereotypes like he was, but the dude seamed legit—glowing eyes, eerie music, aforementioned wispy smoke stuff. But I was only given one wish. Something inside me, something instinctual and basal, told me that my soul would be forfeit if I pulled that whole “wish for more wishes” gag, so I didn’t even try.

          I thought and thought, and eventually wished “for a life surrounded by women.” It seemed such a simple paradise at the time. The genie just nodded once with an arched eyebrow, and I felt it. There was a dry pop in my chest, like something opened up, and I felt the wish take hold. The genie disappeared, accompanied by Middle-Eastern pomp and circumstance, and then I was alone, standing behind a Baskin Robbins, fated to be surrounded by women for all of eternity. But then a niggling doubt came to life. Saturnine thoughts blossomed in the background of my consciousness, dark and brooding: distrust. What was up with that arched eyebrow? His expression reminded me of one of an old-timey villain who’d just tied to the railroad tracks his black-and-white damsel. Distressing. Genies are always the good guys in western cartoons. Poor souls, doomed to serve their masters’ whims, but always the good guys, always on the right side of morality. But the old-school tales talk about the not-so-Sunday-school genies. You know, the dark ones who trick and murder their way out of enslavement, the shiesty ones who feed off unfortunate lamp rubbers. Genies weren’t the good guys; they were just another culture’s version of the malicious leprechaun, the two legged el chupacabra, the lamp based version of a skin walker.

          A random story from my childhood popped into my mind. A man caught a leprechaun. He made the leprechaun take him to his pot of gold, buried by a tree in a forest. But the man didn’t have a shovel. He told the leprechaun to tie a red scarf around the tree marking the treasure: don’t touch the scarf he said, wait here until I return with a shovel he said. The leprechaun was true to his word. He didn’t touch the scarf. But when the man returned, he found a red scarf tied around every tree, tied around every sapling and bush and up-right stone. The leprechaun stood with a smile while he watched the man dig for a life span, dig until he died in the forest for his lust of gold. The leprechaun, the dark creature, got the soul he wanted, because that’s obviously what such creatures eat. So, where did that leave me? Would the women destined to surround me also find me repulsive? Would they be near me only because of the genie’s power, thereby making me feel inadequate? Would I always wonder if any woman truly loved me because every relationship would be tainted by the curse that came from behind Baskin Robbins?

          I’m in my thirties now. I have a wife. Two daughters. They all three have loads of friends. Young ones with their incessant questions. Teenaged ones with their bulletproof self-absorption. Older ones who remind me of my inferiority on the regular. They swarm around me like a hive of only queens, directing my life, shaping it, changing it. My women, the three in my home, give me a ration of shit that’d bring mutiny to a captain’s mind, they test me with their felinity to the breaking point, but guess what: I love it. These creatures are so powerful, so ridiculously masterful of their domain that every day of my life is a lesson learned about wonderment, about women. I got what I wanted. I might be a masochist, but I got my wish. And the victory is mine. I know that genie, that dumbass Aladdin-look-alike genie, did not get what he wanted. He did not get his tormented soul. And he’s squandering in that lamp right now, shaking his stupid, bejeweled genie fist, because I won. He is lost, trapped until there are no more hands to rub lamps. I am free, surrounded by women.

A Letter

Dear Mr. Paul Ryan,

 

We’re fucked, but you already knew that. So, let’s move on.

 

Do you know what’s strange? A few years ago, people like you scared the shit out of me. You all looked like fanatical zealots who loved ignorance and stagnation. You all looked like weird, antiquated versions of American stereotypes. You all looked like people who represented fallacious values that weren’t in line with my own, so I went out of my way to avoid voting for Republicans. Most of us did. Thus, your party was dying. But then you went rogue. You let the tea party out of your basement—in retrospect, it’s obvious that they should’ve stayed chained down there like the gimps that they are, but whatever. It is what it is. They did their damage and created a few more red seats in congress, but then entropy set in, and the tea party started to fade. Short attention spans bring with them no real change. And then, Hillary appeared on the horizon. Now, desperation… You gave Donald Trump a microphone.

 

Why did you do that? As I was saying earlier, Republicans like you used to scare me, but now, I miss having your relative normalcy as one of the possible presidential outcomes. And my “why did you do that” question wasn’t rhetorical; I want an answer. I heard that you weren’t willing to run for the presidency because you wanted to spend more time with your family, with your children. Is that true? Did you have to have the same sad talk with your daughter about Trump that I did? Do you realize that you set women back by about a century by letting that man lead your party? Do you realize that in an attempt to strengthen your family, you actually screwed it along with millions of other families for quite some time? Do you realize that you’re a public servant by choice, but when it really mattered, you chose to not serve the public? Jesus man; if Trump beat Hillary, you could’ve too. Your party would’ve had power and dominance and all the avarice you could eat, but instead, you gave a fuck-tard nuclear codes.

 

But you know what? There are plenty of platitudes we could choose from: Monday morning quarterbacks never miss, hindsight is 20/20, so on and so forth. I’m not writing this letter to give you shit for your mistakes. I’m not just going to tell you things you already know without showing you a path out of your mire. Think about this: Trump was a grenade that the people threw at you because congress sucks. It’s plain and simple. But you have a way out: stop sucking. Come together as a congress that works in unison and represents the people. Stop pushing only your conservative agenda and try some actual give and take. Think about us, not lobbyists. Think about right and wrong, not left or right, because believe it or not, these terms don’t always line up the way that you think they do. We were taught about checks and balances in elementary school, and now, I’m a grownup who’s hoping with fingers crossed that “checks and balances” wasn’t just bullshit that was fed to me right along with those greasy, square pizzas. So please start checking and balancing.

 

In the end, you know what’s going to happen. Trump isn’t going to appoint a special prosecutor to imprison Hillary because that’s not in the president’s power, nor will she ever go to jail. Trump isn’t going to build that wall because it isn’t economically feasible. Trump isn’t going to ban Muslims from entering our country because it’d be unconstitutional (remember when Republicans understood the constitution?). Trump isn’t going to deport all those immigrants because his business buddies rely on them for cheap labor. Trump isn’t going to do any of the things that he said he was going to do, and eventually, his supporters are going to figure it out (it’ll take them a while for obvious reasons, but it’ll dawn on them eventually). Economically and politically, the next four years are going to suck, and now, there’s nobody left to blame because Republicans control all government branches. So what’s going to happen in four years when “republican” is synonymous with “disgrace”? What’s going to happen when you’re up for reelection?

 

I guess what I’m saying is that I need you republicans to start actually being Republicans. See what I did there with the capitalization? Get away from all your social bullshit and get back to your roots: less government. And don’t tell me that’s what you’re about currently because it’s not. Think about it. Blocking gay marriage equals more government. Keeping weed illegal equals more government. All your asinine, social regulations equal more government, and that’s why we centrists have fallen out of love with your party. You say one thing and do another, and nobody likes hypocritical rulers; the dichotomy negates the supposition that you’re qualified to govern. So, it’s time to choose. You can recast your party in the mold that Lincoln used to create it: mother fucking freedom. Freedom from slavery. Freedom from prohibition. Freedom from gender oppression (wasn’t it just hilarious when all those Trump supporters wanted to take away women’s voting rights? LOL?). Freedom from all the things that we’ve been telling you that we want to be free from. Or, after reality sets in a few years from now, when the tide turns blue, I’ll write you another missive that simply says “I told you so.”

 

Actually, I’m pretty sure that you’ll never read this, and even if you do, I’m pretty sure that your party is going to put its social agenda above your lip-service “less government” paradigm as per usual, so… never mind; I’m making my plea to someone else:

 

Dear Alien Overlords,

 

I’m sure that you’re reading this because aliens are famously voyeuristic, and I’m sure that you have mandates that are similar to our own when it comes to interfering with another species, but I beg you to reconsider. Do you know what I mean? When our National Geographic photographers see a suicide of lemmings running towards a cliff, the lemmings are allowed to die because stopping them would be “interfering with nature” (and it would refute their rad “suicide” group-noun). I hope you think that this notion is ridiculous just as I do—I hope you see that lemmings are to us what we are to you, and we need some help right now because the cliff is neigh.

 

After all, when I see one of my children doing something stupid like running with a blade, I have to take it away for their own safety. That’s kind of where we’re at right now, we humans and you super-advanced space-aliens, so I’m gunna need you to come step in and help us with this whole “we elected a dangerous narcissist to rule us with his anachronistic values because we were afraid of a president with boobs” thing. We’re about to fail as a species, but we’re too busy taking selfies to notice. Ergo, I’m gunna need you to come conquer us and take away our blade because we’re stumbling and the cut is going to be deep and global. The cut is going to be permanent. Please.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jesse