Keke wanted the Magical 8ball on his Birthday spending spree, which was sort of a surprise. The hopeful bet is that he might be the more practical one, evidenced by his generally calm and straight disposition, and skill in Lego’s. They first had seen it in the recent superhero movie Shazam. Young Black Adam uses it to quell his speculative anxieties, before a traumatic car crash, to the consternation of his Father. My son had deftly and self-assuredly ignored and fended off discouragement from both parents. It was decidedly so…
My Fatherly grimace was not for the obvious reasons, some embarrassment at its “silliness”, or perhaps religious paranoia. Generally, I am opposed to most systems of Divination, though not to all, you just gotta know how, why and what kind of stick are you swinging. It was the symbol presented in the Magic 8-ball, the tool itself, that bothered me. The “8”, horizontally the infinity symbol, the shape itself, primary colors, piebald nature, the dark blue abyss the device sits in, rolling around. The shaking and sloshing. The reductive nature of the possible responses, twenty Wikipedia informs. The issue was, since function follows form, the tool, the way we do things mattered. This was the lesson I was trying to learn, and subsequently invest in my children. I have been trying to cultivate for so long now, a rejection of the “by-any-means” philosophy, and that means paying attention to HOW I do things, because that determines results. But all that isn’t so obvious to me all the time, not at all. Still eat junk food, still waste time in bad entertainments, still find myself not working hard enough for what I want, in the right way, still am not everything they need, I need. Concentrate and ask again.
I didn’t touch it until late evening, in my pre-bed bro-sessh with my dudes. They had already went through every permutation, and speculation possible during the day though. All the basic stuff, Love, Marriage, Money, possible future careers, then the absurdities and bodily questions, and finally tests of facts and the tool itself. Did we gets pumpkins at the patch? Knowing we had. And there’s the trick, the give, if you follow it. It gets the ones you know are right or wrong, more often wrong, or so it seems, almost like it lies. But doesn’t that show something too? Intelligence, maybe?
I try to hint at how it works. Like when you ask if you’re going to build an Ironman suit in the future, and it reads Outcome Not So Good, well that isn’t a strict “no”, is it? It’s more a reflection on the difficulty of building said suit. There are no hard nos, in fact, in the twenty possible answers. Just “my replys” and “my sources”, which when you think about it might not be worth a pinch of salt anyway. And further, who are these “sources”? Let’s talk about that!
I finally break down and have a go. My Traditions and Codes say I can’t do it for real. So I play a silly act, the character, does their Mom love me! Will I ever stop being so gassy? Will Cash ever stop sniffing crotches? Etc. But I don’t ever do the real thing, not the ritual itself. I don’t want to know. Rather I know I never can know for certain, and that’s better, and to wish for something different is called Hell. That’s the difference too, between doing it for real or play, do you actually care when ya ask, and does it matter?