the magic 8-ball

November 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

Picture of the face of a magic 8-ball taken by...

The Magic 8-Ball

Many years ago, as a kid, I was fascinated by a toy made by Mattel called the magic 8-ball. I never owned one, which is probably what made it extra mysterious and magical to me. The toy is just a black,  hard plastic ball and inside is a type of magical watery liquid. To play, you ask the magic 8-ball a YES/NO question and wait for an answer to float to the surface and appear in a little window.

I was describing my memory of the delightful fortune-telling toy during Thanksgiving dessert yesterday and my niece, now a college junior, smiled brightly, saying ” I have one of those–I still have it, it’s in my bedroom!” She jumped up and quickly retrieved the beloved toy.

We had a wonderful and wacky time passing around the 8-ball. Silly questions (some could even be deemed controversial) were asked of the plastic ball and we laughed at its responses. Many topics were covered—we learned way too much about each other’s personal lives, we learned the results of future presidential elections as well as the employment outlook for the State.

What is it about this toy that compelled my niece to hold on to it? I was intrigued that she not only still had it, but that she had it handy, readily accessible, not tucked away in a box with long-forgotten childhood treasures. What is it about this toy that made me think of  it decades later?

Could it be the deep inner fascination we all have with those that claim to predict the future, with fortune telling, horoscopes and psychics? Of course no one believes in horoscopes, but we sure like to glance at the obscure text that faithfully appears in our Sunday newspaper or favorite magazine– ‘cause you just never know…maybe there’s something to it…

I think it’s much simpler than all that. The magic 8-ball is fun—easy to play, no batteries to fuss with, no assembly required, no directions to decipher. It makes you smile. Like magic. Simple as that.


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