Today morning a thought struck me. How often do we hear people say and also say so ourselves, “What will I not give to _______ (fill in the blanks with whatever it is you wish so desperately to have). It expresses the willingness to give up anything to have what is very much desired. What will I not give to be the head of such-and such and institution. What will I not give to have my novel a best-seller. What will I not give up to have that svelte figure/flawless complexion. What will I not give to be in his/her shoes right now. It goes on and on.
Come to think of it, if it really came down to the nitty-gritty, would we deliver? It is all very well to say we would. In fact the impression conveyed is that we’d be willing to give up just about anything to get for ourselves whatever we desire at that moment. But, would we really? Okay, let me leave you all out of it. Would I really?
For example, suppose I look at the telephoto lens I have been eyeing and exclaim, “What would I not give to own that awesome piece of technology!” and out pops a genie at precisely that moment, and says, “Okay Shail. I will take this and that, and also these and those. You can have your telephoto lens in lieu.” Would I really jump in joy and accept the exchange?
I think not.
Well, on second thoughts, I might be willing if, and only if, what the genie asked was the fat accumulated at all the wrong places on my person. You think it is far-fetched? Naah. Think of it. For all you know the genie might be a skinny genie suffering from low self-esteem, having to live among all those roly-poly genies who pokes fun at his slim self, which incidentally might be the reason he is looking around for people willing to trade in their extra fat for whatever they wished. Well, may be you ARE right, it does sound too far-fetched an idea. Oh well, I knew it was too good to be true. Let’s get back to the topic without being led astray by my wild imagination.
So, like I said, I’d not be willing to trade anything and yet might still be saying, “What will I not give…(for whatever).” It struck me then, how loosely we use words to say things that we don’t actually mean. Oh yes, ahem, I DO know it is just a usage and all that. But the way my brain is wired I couldn’t help but think about it in detail, analyzing it literally. Once the thought came, I had to think it through to conclusion.
My conclusion? I realized there is nothing I am willing to give up for anything (ahem, except what I mentioned above, but I guess it is a sad truth that there are no skinny genies around) I might want.
Or, is there?