pomo post-its wishes: I wish for the ability to shape-shift.
The Evil Genie replies: You’re a shapeshifter! What an unbelievable power! You could be anyone or anything at any time! Poof! You’re a lizard! Poof! You’re Patricia Heaton, star of ABC’s The Middle! Poof! You’re an apple core! Poof! You’re one of those college kids who job it is to stand on the sidewalk soliciting for Children’s International or Greenpeace or whatever! Poof! You’re Billy the bookcase from IKEA!
Why are you changing so fast, and into things that aren’t particularly advantageous or, you know, cool? As you morph from Tyra Banks circa the “Black and White” music video into a snapping turtle, you realize that the thing you didn’t ask for was control. That’s some Evil Genie 101 shit. You are terrified of what will come next, and how you will handle it.
Looking through the eyes of a man who sells bootleg DVDs in the subway and then a Hummel figurine and then an awkward 8th grader with a back brace and then a potato, you realize that living with this power will eat away at your sense of self. Who are we? Any of us? What does it mean to be a person in this world? What does it mean to form a personality, to have likes and dislikes, to hold beliefs and hopes and dreams, to connect to and care about another human being? Does that define who we are? Or are we like sausages, defined by our encasings because without them we are nothing but a disassembled pile of undesirable innards? Are we really just what we are: tall or short, male or female, fat or thin, human, animal or tchotchke? Everything you had worked for disappeared with your human form, and will you ever be that person again?
Your body cycles rapidly from vegetable to mineral to D-list celebrity, but you stand stock-still, too petrified to move. As you ponder your quickly unraveling selfhood, you shift shapes into a goldfish and your body pauses there. Before you can transform into your next slated shape (form of: Jean Dujardin! Ooo!), you drown in the open air.