I want magic powers. I bet you immediately thought of wizards and witches and fireballs and, just maybe, nearsighted preteen Brits with weather-related scars. I totally admit that would be awesome — flying on broomsticks, unlocking doors with a few spoken words, and playing with baseball cards that move. The thing is, in all those stories, those magic-doers have to battle evil or some garbage. Screw that, man. If I had magic powers, I wouldn’t fight evil or feel compelled to save the world. Nope, I would end up being one of those people who need a crane to be lifted out of their house. I would use magic to become the laziest person alive. Hey! I wouldn’t even need the crane! I could just levitate myself!
That’s right. Gone would be the days of having to get up and fetch that cake from the fridge. Never again would I have to reach over and pick up a ringing telephone. Say goodbye to needing to pay for heating oil. Instead, that cake would come to me. I would communicate telepathically with whoever called. I’d throw a fireball so hot, it would melt the neighbors’ house. Wait! It would be so hot, it would melt the neighbors! That’s what you get for judging the morbidly obese, Bob. Suck on my mystically enchanted sulfur balls…of flame.
See, the benefit to being a magician is that I could do whatever I want. At the top of the list? Nothing. In fact, please don’t bother me. That’s what I want most of all. I realize I could do amazing things to help the underprivileged. I could eliminate hunger, ease human suffering, and help those less fortunate pick themselves up by their bootstraps. The thing is, what about my bootstraps? Do you honestly expect me to lean over and grab ahold of my shoes when I could just magic them into my hands? Just because the underprivileged can’t manipulate space, matter, and time with a simple thought doesn’t mean it becomes my responsibility. Do you have any idea of the type of focus necessary to guarantee nothing but green lights every time I leave the house?
I imagine being the most powerful human being alive would allow a lot of time for little pet projects. Have you ever seen the movie The Rocketeer? I’m pretty sure magic is the only way you don’t become a torso with flaming stumps for legs. What about Star Wars? I would totally call myself a Jedi. Let’s see if Han still thinks “hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a trusty blaster at your side” when I use magic to turn that blaster in a rabid bantha in heat. Also, I would create pretty much anything in Back to the Future II. Hoverboards are freakin’ awesome.
There’d be no rules to hold me back.There’d be no one to stop me. No force in the entire world would give me the slightest pause. I realize this sounds like the start of every villain story. At first, his intentions are good. He alone sees the one true path to universal peace. He alone can save the human race, just so long as all power is forfeited to him. I know what you’re thinking. This is exactly what would happen to me. All my good intentions would buckle under the weight of all that power. In no time at all, I would be a despot.
Well, you’re totally wrong. You have wildly overestimated my motivation to do anything except sit on my couch and watch Netflix. I realize I could do all sorts of amazing, powerful, unstoppable things. I just wouldn’t want to. I would, at most, sit around with servants to wait on me hand and foot. I would surround myself with sycophants who inevitably would become my entourage. They’d get me all my food, provide entertainment, and basically run my empire (which would be completely dedicated to making me even more lazy). Basically, I’d be a Jedi version of Jabba the Hutt.
Maybe this is why there is no magic in the world anymore. (Let’s not quibble over the existence, or the practical realities, of magic. For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume magic is real. Don’t be a Bob, okay?) Maybe all the magicians in the world got into a huge war over resources. One especially powerful magician was able to horde all the food and servants, while the other magicians starved to death. Then the reigning magician choked on a mutton sandwich, the food blocking his airway and thus preventing him from being able to call for help. Quite tragically, he forgot he could just magic the food away. It was just too delicious.
Or magic doesn’t exist. Shut up, Bob!
Joe is an amateur magician. So far, his magical abilities consist of waving his hand in front of an automatic door and making it open. He does not have a neighbor named Bob…anymore.