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When I am working on a problem
I never think about beauty.
I only think about how to
solve the problem.
But when I have finished,
if the solution is not beautiful,
I know it is wrong.
- Buckminster Fuller

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Wishing Away

Have you ever noticed how people always want to be something they're not?

Tall want to be short, young yearn to age, single dream of marriage, and no matter what body shape, everyone wants to loose at least another five pounds.

It's almost like a natural preoccupation, this wishing away of our lives.

Think about it. When was the last time you heard someone say, "I am totally satisfied with myself and my life. I couldn't ask for anything more."

It just doesn't happen. So, I have this idea to pitch to all "build a better mousetrap" inventors. How about creating a virtual reality machine that would allow people to actually experience the life of their dreams? For instance, for all the women who live with the unanswered hope that their husband will one day spontaneously waltz in the back door with a dozen roses and a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon... the opportunity to live with Prince Charming.

Or, for sports fanatics, how about the chance to score the winning goal, kick the overtime fieldgoal, drive the victory lap, or hit that "must-win" two pointer at the buzzer? Music fans might choose to jump onstage and perform with their favorite rock band or conduct a full orchestral symphony. Latent actors could hit their mark in celluloid or live theatrical productions showcased within a cast and crew of Hollywood's best.

On a simpler scale, people who have always dreamed of model-like physiques would be able to specify their ideal color, size and shape. Followed of course by access to a never ending wardrobe of fashionable clothes and styling shoes.

For those who desire more natural pursuits, life lived within lushly blooming gardens containing species of every imaginable variety, that never need watering or weeding. Or a kitchen that produces it's own healthy gourmet meals whenever, and as often, as desired. No dirty dishes to boot.

Some might enjoy ever-green lawns that never need mowing. Or houses that are always pin neat and repair-free. The idea of kittens and puppies that never grow up has appeal, as well as warm sunny days of low humidity and little rain.

And how about that always mentioned payout of a nickel for every time someone utters a certain phrase? Or the more obvious, endless wealth, and lifelong health.

The possibilities are endless.

But I wonder about the down side to such an invention. Would experiencing the dreams of a lifetime really make us better people? Less dissatisfied with our lot in life? I'm not sure of that answer, or of the true possibility of such an invention.

But what I am sure of is that perfection is often overrated. So, if you don't like it the way it is, change it. If you can't change it, learn to live with it. And if you can't live with it, my only advice is to hang in there.

For somewhere out in the great vista of Internet science fiction imaginings, a young computer whiz is hard at work, developing a virtual reality life machine to fulfill your every dream.

And by the way, when that happens, would you see if I could be Katie Couric for a day?

Christina Abt

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Last Update: May 22, 2018