A Handful of Childhood Hopes & Dreams (like Winnie the Pooh Pencil Sharpeners)

Every kid has three dreams. One is to eat at McDonald’s everyday, one is to have stuffed animals with the ability to talk, and then there was a personal dream of mine: to drink an entire container of soy sauce by myself. My mother, of course, never let me, and now that I’m an adult, I suppose I can see her logic.

And then every kid wants three wishes. The first wish is always for more wishes. Oldest trick in the book. I knew that only genies could grant wishes, but just in case, I wished on dandelions and shooting stars and the whole throwing-pennies-in-the-mall-fountain thing (even though I was pretty sure was a scam). I also wished upon fortune-telling machines. I wished to God and Santa and whoever and whatever else might be out there with the ability to grant wishes. Psychic Jean from the back of the newspaper ads? I didn’t rule her out.

My first wish would have totally would be for the ability to walk upside down on the ceiling. That would be awesome. I don’t think anything more needs to be said about this.

Another wish was to be an actual dinosaur. Dinosaurs ruled. They roamed the earth and ripped each other’s faces off. Some of them were docile plant eaters, but no one cares about those guys. I loved dinosaurs. I borrowed stacks of books from the library and learned the names of every one I could get my grubby hands on. I tried to memorize their approximate sizes, food preferences, and even boring stuff like their country of origin. I practiced being a dinosaur by stomping through the kitchen and dining room, chasing our dog, Max, and pretending to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sometimes I would swap that out with pretending to be a TaunTaun from Star Wars. I tried being a Triceratops, once (Triceratops was a plant-eater, North American). I picked a few blades of grass out of the back yard and tried eating them. After a few seconds of boredom, I spontaeneously morphed into my previous T-Rex form and continued to terrorize my little brother and our dog. Ironically, I am now a vegetarian (what this says about my psyche, I do not know).

Having a big stick would be neat. I’d found some pretty big ones while rooting around in the woods in Montana, some that were almost the size of me. But, to wish for an even bigger one, would be awesome. You know, to do stuff with. Ninja stuff.

I probably would’ve wished to own the coolest backpack ever to have existed too. I don’t know if this was a thing in your elementary school, but at mine, the type of backpack you wore was totally factored into your coolness status. Jansport? Classic cool. Jansport Corduroy/Jean? Mature cool. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plastic retro? Pre-hipster cool. Hello Kitty? Girly cool. 99 cent Costco single-zipper? Not so much. The same went for pencil cases, binders, doc-its, types of pens/pencils — even pencil sharpeners. Shelly from 3rd grade had this Winnie the Pooh pencil sharpener that she’d leave on random people’s desks through the day just so she could walk over and claim it (loudly) once again for herself. School supplies were no joke, yo. We took the color of our protractors seriously.

I definitely would’ve wished for 20 millions pinatas. I had a thing for finding surprises inside of other things. One time, my dad brought me home one of those Russian Dolls – blew my mind. I kept those on display for years, showing them off to uninterested friends when they came to my room. Super Mario Bros: one of my favorite feelings in the world is when you push B and jump up, hit the block, and all those gold coins come bouncing out. Pinatas, however, had one up on both of those — because inside, there was candy. To this day, I have cravings to go hit pinatas. This commerical also frustrated the heck outta me (I do love that kid’s face though).

And of course, I would sooner or later wish to fly. Not in plane or helicopter, but actual flying, which seemed like it was all in the chest. Somewhere behind the heart or perhaps inside of it, there was an energy, and I knew I could fly if I could simply hone into it. No arm flapping; Too laborious. I tried jumping as high as I could on a trampoline or Annie’s 7th birthday party’s Moon Bounce, but that didn’t last very long. And getting a bunch of balloons and holding them in my hands never worked; My mother would buy me only one. I remember fiercely holding onto my balloon, and yet my hand always found a way to somehow let go. As the air greedily snapped the balloon beyond my reach, it became smaller and smaller until it looked like a bird. Then a dot. Then just a tiny speck. My brother watched, too. Both of us, until the blue sky swallowed it forever. Next time, mom tied it to my wrist.

The rest of my infinite wishes could used for world peace or being a princess and whatever. Or like, the world’s biggest taco. It would cure world hunger AND make Mexican food the international food of preference.

Genius.

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