Wishful Thinking


I feel slightly guilty today. It’s Rob Ford. He’s dropped out of the mayor’s race in Toronto while he waits to find out whether his tumour is malignant or benign. Why do I feel guilty about that? Because in my darkest moments, perhaps in a drunken stupor when my outrage over his opinions and political style narrow down to simple rage, in my least humane moments, I’ve wished people like Rob Ford (and believe me the list is a lengthy one) would get cancer and die. No, seriously, I’ve wished these terrible things on those I find to be morally repulsive. As I said the list is long. At least irony isn’t dead.

But of course, my real self, my adult rational self does not wish any such thing. I’ve known cancer victims, lived with them. Some survived the ordeal, others did not. All of them suffered terribly. And none of them were to blame for their illness. No one, no caring feeling human being, could reasonably or rationally wish that on anyone. That was my four-year old self.

Besides, it wouldn’t matter if you did. Wishes are not fulfilled. Even a million people wishing — or praying — for something will make it happen. It’s been scientifically proven. Which, of course, is the only logical position an atheist could take.

A real atheist doesn’t only not believe in god; we don’t believe in the supernatural. Wishes or prayers, ghosts or goblins, magic or ESP — none of it is real. Well, except for ESP. They recently proved that you can transmit thoughts from one brain to another. But it takes a lot of equipment and the latest advances in brain scanning technology to do it.

So, while it is futile, I wish Rob Ford well. I hope his tumour is benign. Or, if it isn’t, that medicine succeeds in treating him and curing him.

And of course what I really wanted was to see Mr. Ford defeated soundly at the polls. I hope as fervently that his brother and surrogate is likewise defeated. These are toxic men, in themselves – if it doesn’t stretch the metaphor too far – a cancer on the city they inhabit.

I don’t know who will win in Toronto. I learned long ago that predicating elections, even as they draw to a close, is a mugs’ game. I wish it wasn’t so but there you have it. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. And I haven’t seen many of them on horseback lately. Have you?

But that’s ten minutes.


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