Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Μαγική σφαίρα

Years ago, I was walking down the toy aisle in the grocery store, when my eye was caught by a Magic 8 Ball. Now I'm a sucker for a Magic 8 Ball, so I picked it up, shook it, and asked some question.

The answer was in Greek.

I don't remember whether or not the packaging was in English, but all the answers on the polygonal die were in Greek characters. I shook it several times, sounding out the answers. And then, and then, I put it down and I didn't buy it.

Why? That question has haunted me for years. Why on earth did I walk away from the Greek Magic 8 Ball? Did I feel that predictions in Greek were a bridge too far, too much like fortune telling for comfort? Did I balk at the minor cost? Did I feel it was silly to buy another toy I already owned? Whatever the reason, I've regretted it since that day, but no matter how I prowl the toy aisle at Kroger, I've never seen another Greek Magic 8 Ball surface.

Our current Magic 8 Ball is popular with the children. (My 5yo can recite most of the answers if you ask him a yes or no question.) It gets rolled about, thrown on the floor, stepped on. This morning when I picked it, I notice that the die had broken apart into two halves, both of which kept trying to surface at the same time. No matter how you shook it around, the answer most of the time was "Signs Point to No" (the 8 Ball's commentary, perhaps, on the way it gets treated.) And so I wondered: could I find the Greek Magic 8 Ball? Ναί or όχι?

τα σημεία υποδηλώνουν όχι, as it turns out. Lord Google does not deign to admit that a Greek Magic 8 Ball exists. Even Greek toy sites, if they carry a Μαγική σφαίρα, have English versions. But I know they exist, because I saw one, once, in a grocery store in Delaware, OH. Where did it come from? How did it end up there? Why didn't I buy it?

I'd ask the Magic 8 Ball, but it only answers yes or no questions.


Brandon said...

Perhaps you can't find it again because the one you found was the only one in the world, the True Magic 8 Ball, the only one that correctly answers all questions because it was the last remnant of the Oracle of Delphi; it was roaming the world like Jumanji, and it will never be seen again until one day it will be found in a garage sale in Etobicoke, Ontario, or an attic in Klamath Falls, Oregon, or an antique store in Manor, Texas.

mrsdarwin said...

Alas, that I had had the wit to fully grasp my encounter with the Delphic Oracle! I feel I was put to the test. Did I pass? Perhaps, in the end, the right way to respond to the Oracle is to back away respectfully and refuse to engage. Still, I'm tempted to try the antiques markets of Manor to see if the Oracle will again approach me.

Melanie Bettinelli said...

There have been a few times in my life when I didn't buy something because I was waffling and being cheap and thought I could go back later if I changed my mind... and then later I couldn't find the thign again after I'd decided I very much did want it. I spent a rainy afternoon in Venice looking for that one store that had the one necklace that I very much had to have, but alas the store seemed to have vanished never to be found again. The Greek Magic 8 Ball probably belonged to another parallel universe that somehow slipped through.