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Guest Writer

If only ...
Wishful thinking
by Jenny Illogic

Ever wish you could undo something? Holler "Do over!"? Get a second chance? Mutter "If only I had known"?

Here's my latest: I'm hauling groceries into the house. The phone rings. I'm deep in conversation. My two dogs start barking. I head for the ruckus at the front door. It's the mailman.

The dogs snuck out.

I drop the phone and run outside to see the scared civil servant spinning in circles and screaming -- dogs on either side. When he finally follows my command to stand still, I grab the dogs and haul 'em inside, but not before the little one manages to get some teeth on the guy's ankle. If only I had locked the screen door …

If only.

If you had the ability to turn back time, would you use it here? I would have. Even without knowing that everything would turn out okay. The bite was barely a bruise and the dogs received the minimum -- a 10-day quarantine at home. The worst part was the tear-inducing fear that I'd lose my furry friends.

Wouldn't it be nice to back up and fix our faux pas and blunders?

Sounds grand on the surface. But a super power like this would certainly come with limits, drawbacks and consequences. Otherwise we'd all be running around town turning back time willy-nilly.

Remember the ripple effect: throw a pebble into a puddle -- it not only goes plop, but also sends out lots of little waves that bounce against the edges.

Consider: You walk barefoot in the park, step on a rusty nail, go to the emergency room, take a tetanus shot, get a phone number from the nurse, marry the nurse, live happily ever after.

Now suppose you step on that nail and immediately reverse at warp speed ... put on your shoes or walk a different route. How does your decision affect the nurse you never meet?

Could be insignificant -- she could meet somebody else, get married and live a fairytale life.

Or it could be that treating your wound kept her out of the ER, where a young kid who'd gotten into some bad drugs grabs a scalpel and starts slashing nurses and doctors.

Maybe you saved her life. And, in turn, she lived to continue nursing and save other lives. Who go on to save others. Etc, etc, etc.

Who knew? Nobody. And therein lies the problem with such a super power.

So instead of lamenting "if only … " and wishing to go back and change certain events, choose to search out the bright side, apologize if necessary, learn a lesson and say "Next time … I'll stop and lock the door."

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