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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What a Magic 8-Ball Taught Me About Myself

I'm sure that most of you reading this blog entry has owned, or at the very least heard of the Magic 8-Ball.  It's a mystical, magical orb, based on the most popular of all pool table balls that if you ask it the right question, it could predict the future!  Crystal balls?  Those were relegated to the carnivals and the red tents where women older than Carol Channing would attempt to spout off some mumbo-jumbo about how you'd find love in an unlikely place, and how you would live a long life, blah, blah, blah.

To me, it was pure fun to have a Magic 8-Ball.  The questions one could ask it were endless.  Hard to believe that the toy itself is over six decades old!

I think I got my very first Magic 8-Ball around twenty years ago.  I loved that thing.  I loved that thing so much that when I attended a summer playground camp as a child, I brought the Magic 8-Ball with me to show off.  It proved to be a big hit with the kids, and in some way, I was relieved because the Magic-8 Ball was right!

No, seriously!  Before I left for the playground, I asked the Magic 8-Ball "If I brought you to the playground to show off to the kids, would they like it?"

The response?

And lo and behold, the Magic 8-Ball was dead on!  Freaky, no?

Truth be told, I think during my early childhood, I relied on the Magic 8-Ball to answer life's fleeting questions.  Would I finish my homework?  Would I get to play Super Mario 3?  Would my teacher give me a good report card?

(For the record, the answers were usually 'Yes', 'All Signs Point To Yes', and 'Reply Hazy Try Again'.)

Apparently, my Magic 8-Ball felt that I needed to wait until June like everyone else did.

One day, I had come home from school very upset.  I think it was one of those days where everything that could have possibly went wrong did go wrong.  I had lost my math book, I slipped on the ice and fell into a puddle, and I couldn't find a partner to work on an art assignment with me, so I had to work by myself.

I was not having a good day that day, so I picked up the Magic 8-Ball, and asked it "Will I have a better day tomorrow?"

This was the answer. 

Nice, huh?

Of course, I was quite upset.  You have to understand that I was a gullible ten-year-old child back then.  I had really started to rely on the ethereal power of the Magic 8-Ball, and when it told me that my day would be even worse the next day, I was not looking forward to it.

I didn't want to go to school the next day.  Tried to fake having a sore throat.  My mother was the overprotective type anyways...I was sure I could convince her that I was sick so I didn't have to go to school.  The Magic 8-Ball said that I was in for a terrible day at school!  And the Magic 8-Ball had a success rate of one hundred per cent as far as I was concerned.  If I was to go to school, I was doomed!  DOOMED!

Yet, when I tried to tell my mom that I was sick, she didn't believe me, and sent me on my way to school.

My thoughts it comes.  This is where it begins.  The Magic 8-Ball prophecy has been made, and now it must come true.

So, anyone wanna take a guess at how the day turned out?

I ended up getting 100% on my spelling test.  The only one in the class to get that mark, might I add.  I got a good mark on a math test.  I ended up playing Four-Square with three other kids at recess, which was great fun.  I even ended up getting a compliment in gym class!  I never got compliments in gym class.  I HATED gym class!

Magic 8-Ball LIED!  It totally lied.  It said I would have the worst day ever, and it turned out to be the complete opposite.

Everything that I had believed in as a ten-year-old had come crashing down like a tower of blocks that had been smashed into with a Hot Wheels car.

The Magic 8-Ball was...WRONG!  But how?  It had been so right before.  What was different?

It wasn't until I was an adult that I ended up figuring out the reason.

The Magic 8-Ball was just a toy.  It always had been.  But the imagination of a child is a powerful thing.  As children, we want to believe in everything, and we let our imaginations take ordinary household objects and turn them into magical things.  Mine just happened to be the Magic 8-Ball.

Prior to the massive epic fail that the Magic 8-Ball delivered that one day in 1991, I had had a near-perfect record with it.  Looking back on it though, I did ask it some rather elementary questions.  I asked it if I was going to get my homework done, and it said that I would.  So, I did it.  I asked it if I was going to play video games, and it said yes, so I did it. 

But in all honesty, I probably would have done those things anyway without the aid of the Magic 8-Ball.  Why?  Because I wanted to.  I wanted to do my homework so I didn't fall behind and have to do more.  I wanted to play video games because they were fun.  That was it.  Simple.

And maybe that epic failure that the Magic 8-Ball delivered to me that day wasn't so much of a fail.  Maybe deep down inside, I was determined to go against the ball as a way to show that I didn't need to rely on it to tell me what to do.  I ended up having a great day because of it.

So, should I tell these guys my lesson as to what I learned?

Screw it, I would've told them anyways.  :D

The lesson is that one shouldn't rely on someone (or in this case something) to make their choices and decisions for them.  They have to make their own minds up and decide what is best for them.  While the novelty of having a Magic 8-Ball was good to have, it was just that.  A novelty.  It shouldn't be my life.  It's not my life now, and I probably won't ask it to make up my mind for me again.

That being said, my original Magic 8-Ball is something that I no longer have.  It had gotten smashed during a move.  I am contemplating buying another one know...just for fun.  Maybe I could even get that new Glee version!

Then again...maybe not.

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