Putting the genie back in the bottle.
By Sue Langenberg

–I don’t know what genies do, but someone made the comment the other day about putting one back in the bottle.
–My first question might be, “What do they do when they come out of the bottle?” It must have something to do with desirable magic. I remember the sitcom magic when “I Dream of Jeannie,” of the 60s took on a lightweight take about which someone dreamed from day to day. Then perhaps, the Jeannie of his dreams was less than he bargained for as she was not exactly dutiful as he wanted.
–Real genies, I find, have been around for some thousands of years, though in a very complicated and ancient style of dreaming. I gather that the genie comes out of the bottle and says, “What can I do for you master?” and life goes on.
–I could use one of those around the house. “What can I do for you, hag?” Well, you can begin with dishes, dusting, vacuuming, and after that…Poof! It’s gone. I guess this particular genie wasn’t in the mood. Even Genies, it seems, have emotional problems that lead to depression or dysfunction. Maybe I got the couch genie.
–I guess I’ll have to invent my own genie, one that doesn’t argue, glare or say “later.” After all, I have already had teenagers for that.
–My own personal genie won’t have to ask so that there will be no consideration about it being boring or inconvenient. It would be nice to look out the window and see that a genie is mowing the lawn with a smile. Or looking back at me while washing windows. A genie could pull up the driveway and unload everything on my grocery list, have the car oil changed and pick up the cleaning.
–Hey, I could understand this dream! Asking someone to do something and actually have it done right is a magic I’ve never experienced.
–A real genie worth its salt could pick up the phone to make appointments, then show up at the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and other various boring but responsible doctor checkups. Can genies do that? After all, it’s magic.
–But just like other dreams that come out of bottles, I don’t read where those other genies in the last thousands of years might have been less than accommodating. So did anyone ever fire one? There might be a day, after all, when the genie does a less than desirable job. I might question why the lawn looks like a rat maze with diagonal stripes. Or why the windows have streaks and spider webs. Maybe I really don’t want someone smiling and looking back at me through the windows.
–There might be recalcitrant genies obstinate enough to choose groceries not on my list or, perish the thought, forget to buy the expensive wine.
–My dream of the dutiful genie is fading fast when I suddenly remember how a teenager would argue about dishes or cleaning. I am envisioning my daughter floating out of a bottle to say “later, mom,” or “no,” the average response that comes out of any child from birth to grown. In fact, this genie suspiciously looking like my daughter has her classic smirk that fixed itself from mouth to ear.
–In fact, who invented those rebellious genies anyway?
–So I am at the point where I can understand “putting the genie back in the bottle” and recycling to the curb. Genies have a way, however, of moving on to provide the same kind of magic to the next generation.