I've always been rather fond of John: People said he wasn't good looking but I've seen pretty girls hanging onto him and realized he was quite comfortable with himself, till last evening: "Bob you're not going to see me for a while, and after I'm back you'll have women wanting to elope with me!"
"After you're back from where?" I asked puzzled.
"Hospital! I'm going under the surgeon’s scalpel!"
"Whoa! Whoa! What's the matter, you not well?"
"I'm okay!" said John, "but I’m soon going to look like Hrithik Roshan or Shahrukh Khan! This is how I'll be when I'm out of the hospital!" John handed me a computer- projected image of a rather handsome fellow, whom on looking closer I realized, was a good- looking version of John himself.
"How d'you like my make over look?" he asked.
"I don't know," I said and looked at Sita the six- year-old who sometimes came over to play with my dog, "Sita will you read that stonecutter story you read me this morning?" Sita smiled and opened her book, “Once upon a time there lived an unhappy and discontented stonecutter. One day the stonecutter came upon a merchant and was awe-struck by the man, "I wish I were a merchant," said the stonecutter and, quite amazingly, his wish was granted.
"Not long afterwards he saw a prince, ‘I wish I were a prince.’ And he became one.
"It wasn't too many days later he felt the hot summer sun, "Even a prince cannot stay cool in the sun," he said. "I wish I were the sun." This wish too was granted.
"He was happy being the sun," read little Sita, "until, one day, a cloud came between him and the earth. "That cloud overshadows me, I wish I were a cloud!"
His wish was granted and he was happy till he came to a mountain he could not rise above. "I wish I were a mountain."
"As a tall and mighty mountain," said Sita smiling at John, "he felt he was finally happy, but one day a stonecutter climbed up his side and chipped away at the rocks and there was nothing he could do about it. "That little man is more powerful than I am," the mountain said. "I wish I were a stonecutter!"
John smiled, grinned, then guffawed.
"You know something Uncle John!" said little Sita, "When I grow up, I'm going to marry you!"
“Why me?" asked John.
"Because you're the handsomest looking man I've ever seen when you're happy!"
I saw John throwing away computer projected image, hugging the little girl and laughing at me as he whispered, "I guess I'm better off being just John..!"
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at email@example.com