The true story behind Gary Derr

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The moment seemed to go on forever. This was, in fact, because time had come to a complete stop.

The moment would never end, which was unfortunate, as some people were caught in pretty awkward situations: grown men watching “The Bachelor,” women aggressively fixing wedgies and more people naked and touching themselves than one could ever hope to count. It wouldn’t have been much of a problem if everyone was frozen, but this wasn’t the case.

Gary Derr looked around slowly, then rubbed his eyes in the way cartoon characters do to make sure what they’re seeing is real. This gesture did actually assure him he was successful; time was completely stopped.

You see, Gary had recently been blessed with a supernatural power. While rummaging around in his attic, he had come across a monkey’s paw — its three fingers were stretched out rigidly and animals instinctively ran away when it was near.

“I wish I knew if this were real,” he said aloud, and suddenly, he did. A finger slowly curled on the paw. Next, Gary wished for a magic lamp and threw the cursed paw away — he wasn’t stupid.

After a short while of thinking about wishes and watching “Aladdin,” Gary rubbed the lamp. As expected, a genie came out. His name was Fred. He gave the entire spiel about how he had been trapped inside the lamp for millennia and Gary would be granted three wishes to repay him, at which point the genie would disappear to go do his laundry or something. Gary accepted. He paused briefly to clear his throat, straightened his notecards and spoke.

[media-credit name=”SYDNEY LISS-ABRAHAM” align=”alignnone” width=”300″]genie[/media-credit]

“I wish for unlimited wishes,” Gary said with a smirk.

“Sorry, I can’t do that,” Fred replied. “Too many people tried to game the system, so we had to make rules against it.”

“Fine.” Gary squinted his eyes to read his prepared wishes, just in case this happened. “I wish I could wish for unlimited wishes.”

“Okay, granted.”

“Good. Now I wish for unlimited wishes again”

“Sorry dude, it’s a no-go,” the genie replied. “You asked if you could wish for that, not if you may. That’s not even tricky genie-semantics, you just should have learned it by middle school.”

“Damn! That doesn’t count, does it?”

“Unfortunately, yes, it does. But, I’m feeling nice so I’ll let you know something in advance; you can’t wish away the genie code, so don’t waste a wish trying.”

Gary scratched his head disappointedly. “Thanks, I guess,” he said. He threw his notecards away, since he had used up everything on them. A brief moment passed before he resumed his requests.

“Okay, Fred, for my second wish, I wish that I were the vice president of the University of Vermont.”

“Vice president? Why not the actual president?”

“Bah, too much work; they’re too busy to connect to the students. I already have a great idea brewing on how I’m going to get those college kids to love me — I’ll email them every single week to let them know about UVM activities. They’ll eat that up!”

“How thoughtful of you,” Fred said. “Your wish is granted.”

With one wish left, Gary was put in a hard position—being the vice president was the only thing he’d ever wanted. He tried to think of more wishes, but he was all out of ideas. The two stood around awkwardly, adjusting their clothes and pretending to check their phones.

“Anything else?” Fred asked. “I should probably get going soon, if you wanna hurry this thing up.”

“I’m drawing a complete blank, sorry,” said Gary, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Why don’t you wish for a superpower? Everyone likes superpowers.”

“Oh, that’s a pretty good idea. I… uh, I wish I could fly! No wait, that’s not a good one. And super strength is just boring… hmm. Okay, I’ve got it!”

The genie looked up from his phone and raised his eyebrows.

“I wish I could stop time,” Gary declared. “Then I’d make sure that I’d never miss an email deadline.”

“Your wish is my command,” Fred said, realizing he was perpetuating stereotypes. He quickly apologized, and then vanished in a puff of blue smoke.

It wasn’t until two weeks later that Gary tried to use his power — he wanted the unveiling to be in a practical situation, as he was a practical man.

The campus news was particularly heavy and it was nearly time to submit it all, but he wasn’t close to finished. Tom Sullivan walked into his office, screaming.

“Gary, there’s no way you’re getting this all done! You just don’t have enough time!”

“Oh, really?” he replied, with a sly grin.

Gary then activated his power, stopping the president in his tracks. He finished his emails, stacked some books on coworkers’ heads, robbed a bank and then drove home in record time. It was a good day.

Soon he had had enough of everything standing still and tried to restart time, but couldn’t. Gary quickly realized he had forgotten to wish that he could start time back up again, not just stop it.

“Well shit,” he thought to himself, “I wonder where I threw that monkey’s paw.”