Friday, January 18, 2008

A Short List of Skills I Dearly Wished To Possess, But Made No Attempt To Master

As a young girl, I had a frequent, elaborate fantasy involving a genie or fairy godmother or similar supernatural being and three wishes, but wishes that could not be used for worldly goods or abstract concepts like "world peace" or a million dollars. The wishes had to be used for the magical endowment of skills. (Or skillz, I suppose.)

And here are the three talents young Melanie would have wished for:

1. The ability to sing soaring arias, Broadway choruses, and pop standards with ease and staggering, heart-rending skill. (However, I would have settled for singing really sweet three-part harmonies, just like a Wilson. Or even a Phillips.)

2. The ability to effortlessly execute, with astounding technical perfection, triple toe loops, axels, and salchows, preferably in front of Olympic judges and while skating, triumphantly, to "St. Elmo's Fire." (Please keep in mind: I had been ice skating exactly twice.)

3. The ability to play the violin with total virtuosity. (I have no idea. I wasn't even in orchestra. It just seemed like a good skill to fall back on if singing and ice skating didn't work out.)

So, tell me: what mad skillz would you have wished for?


Life As I Know It said...

I think I would have wished to fly and/or be invisible. Those aren't really skills, though, more like superpowers...

Family Adventure said...

Oh definitely to be able to sing. I still sing loudly in the car, in the shower, and on SingStar after a glass or five of wine.

I'd also like to be an Olympic caliber skier. And a marathon runner.

And that is all. Not so much to ask for, really?


Lisa Milton said...

All my life, I've wanted to sing. Well, of course, I sing now, to myself and to terrify my kids.

But I'd love to have that gift.

On a pedestrian note, I wish I was more organically organized, someone born with that trait instead of struggling constantly against my natural slob state.

Rima said...

I'm with you on skill number one.

It was also my biggest dream to trump Mary Lou Retton in the gymnastics arena.

Oh, yeah, and marry River Phoenix.

Melanie said...


Is 'marrying River Phoenix' considered a skill, or attainment of a worldly good? One for the philosophers, I suppose.

Also, condolences. I had no idea you were a widow.

Nora Bee said...

Oh, I would have wished for the ability to act, I think. I have always loved being around actors but could never act myself. So I played piano for them, sorta mediocrely.

MamaBird said...


1. Gymnastics, Olympic caliber
2. Skiing, ditto
3. Great American novelist

Do I have to stop there?

4. Quilter
5. Embroiderer
6. Sewer of one's own clothes
7. Triathlete
8. Baker of yeasty breads
9. Mind reader with ability to shut it off
10. Person for whom everything rolls off her back, like water beading up and off of a duck's feathers

Sheila Ann said...

Sing- But I'm one of those people that can't hear how bad I am. Simon Cowell would have to break the truth to me!

Veronica Mitchell said...

Seamstress, ballerina, and Jedi master.

Mrs. G. said...

I was here earlier and have spent many hours thumbing through what skillz I would really like to posess. I've narrowed it down to two.

I would like to dance and choreograph like Bob Fosse, and I would like to write like Wallace Stegner...but without being male.

edj said...

Singing. Really really well and loud. Definitely.
Also ice-skating. Really we're remarkably alike.
Oh, and really talented at baseball and soccer, instead of being ball-shy and cringing whenever one came near me.
Now it's totally different. Now I would choose:
Singing. Ice-skating. Effortless thin-ness. And Writing. Oh, and still being talented at baseball and soccer, so that I can show up the neighbor kids and make my own think I'm too cool.

Christina. B said...


I would gladly be any of the above.

Ophelia Rising said...

I have had dreams where I am the most remarkable (fill in the blank) of all. Athlete, musician, dancer - you name it. I wake up and wonder - if I could dream it, could I really do it? It seemed so real. And I was really in the moment, when I was performing whatever I was performing. If I dream it, does it mean that I actually have the capability somewhere in me to accomplish it?

It's worth some thought.

So, anyway:

1) athlete
2) dancer
3) chef

Amy the Mom said...

I wish I could play the piano and be able to understand music on a functional level.

I wish I had the talent it would take to be a celebrated author whose latest work is declared to be "fresh" no less than fifty times by Oprah Winfrey while I sit on the couch next to her.

I also wish I didn't have to ruminate on this question for hours prior to answering it.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Singing for sure. I'd settle for simply well enough to do it in public, but a booming Broadway voice would be great.

A runner. Even just good enough to run 3 miles a day. Unfortunately, I run like a penguin (I didn't know that's what the problem was, until my (future) husband told me.

A true chef. I'm a really good cook, but I just don't have the patience, skill or mindset to be a true artiste in the kitchen.

Loralee Choate said...

The "St. Elmo's Fire" thing is KILLING ME.

Hmm...I can actually do #1, but I would KILL to be very organized and balanced.

Or have stellar financial skills.

Loralee Choate said...


You both can't marry River Phoenix. I'm his widow. Plus, ya know, I went Vegan for a month in 7th grade to prove my undying devotion.

Mary Ann said...

I would have given up a wish to walk gracefully in staggeringly high stilettos while my waiflike frame and gaunt face sashayed down a catwalk with my nipples nearly exposed.

coolbeans said...



Your first two wishes would be my first two wishes exactly. Crazy facts: 1) When I can't sleep at night, I picture myself figure skating, wowing everyone I know who had no idea I was in training. 2) I wanted the St. Elmo's Fire theme at my wedding. We had that quick trip to the JP, so music wasn't planned. However, the SEF theme WAS playing in the canned music at the family buffet restaurant after the "I do." I cried.

Skill #3 - Speed reading. I love to read, but it takes me forever.

I'm leaving a comment longer than Loralee's two comments combined. Someone please take note.

Professor J said...

Sing like Mama Cass, write beautiful novels, and paint.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

That would be:

sing (because I have the worst singing voice. ever.)

ballet dancer (too tall, boobs too big, and not enough lessons to be great)

gymnast (again too tall, boobs too big, and zero lessons)

Academy award winning actress (but with the never ending writers strike those will all go to reality tv stars)

stephanie said...

I would love to be able to: play piano (well) with both hands; dance confidently; and consistently style my hair with ease.

It was nice of you to ask, but now I'm feeling kind of down knowing I CANNOT do any of those things...And I'm just too tired to try.

Claire B. said...

Rock star vocalist and musician.



October said...

I always wanted to have what I would call 'photographic reflexes' so that if I saw somebody do something I would be able to copy them exactly AND improve the skills by say at least 15%.
(kind of like what peter petrelli does in 'heroes' I guess.)
cause that way I would still have two wishes left witch meant I could marry river phoenix AND be invisible whenever wherever.

but now I only wish for a long life of health, happiness, inspiration and contentness for my beautiful little baby boy.
that's not very sassy I'm afraid, but I'm so in love with him. Does the sass disappear when you have a kid?? will it ever come back?
is sass a skill?

Someone Being Me said...

I completely agree with #1. I still wish that daily and have my American Idol fantasies. I also wish I had some sort of athletic ability. I am the most uncoordinated unathletic person ever. It really sucks when friends want to get together for softball or volleyball and I have flashbacks of being the last kid picked in gym class.

Jocelyn said...

It was a sad, sad day when I realized I would never be a teen ice skating prodigy and get to wear a little Oksana outfit with pink maribou.

It was about the same time I realized I would never have to be a teen parent. So, I guess it all worked out.

minnesotamom said...

1. Singing

2. Dancing (ballroom--professional caliber)

3. Painting (watercolor)