Halrloprillalar (prillalar) wrote,

Signs point to yes.

I am superstitious. It was buying codeine yesterday that made me realise it, drugstore brand acetaminophen with codeine.

Background is: I'm an atheist, pride myself on being coldly rational, read Sagan and Shermer, don't hold with astrology or psychics or alien abduction.

But when I was buying Gravol and codeine for my headache, I realised that while I was planning to take the Gravol, the codeine was just to have and if I had it, I wouldn't need to take it. I don't have to shake the bottle so it rattles, or anything, but I have to have it with me.

I'm a gamer (D&D, etc) and I have some game-related superstitions as well. I will not let anyone touch my dice and if someone does, I can no longer use that die. And our group has this thing where it's bad luck for a player to roll on the battle map. (It's just fine for the DM to do so.) We're divided on whether putting your character sheet or a book on top and rolling on that will block the bad luck.

And then there's the Magic 8-Ball. I picked it up a few years ago when I was doing tech support as kind of a joke. "Will you be able to fix my email?" "Let's see -- *shakeshakeshake* -- 'Reply hazy, try again.'"

I have it at my current work place now and we're much more serious about consulting it. We don't use it too often, since that would cheapen it. And we don't ask unless we really want to know. The unanswered question:

Does the Magic 8-Ball predict the future or does it create the future?

But the 8-Ball is more than that to me. I'm an atheist now but I was raised a Christian and it wasn't until I was an adult that my beliefs changed. There are a lot of things that are still ingrained and one of them is prayer. If you've been brought up to pray for things -- all the time -- it's hard to stop that, especially in stressful situations.

So, in order to help myself get out of the habit, I decided to substitute the Magic 8-Ball for God in those situations. If I found myself saying in my head, "please don't let x happen," I would tack on "O Magic 8-Ball." If someone sneezed, and I said "bless you," it was the blessings of the Magic 8-Ball I was imparting.

This worked in one sense in that those little prayers come up much less often. But now I fear and respect the Magic 8-Ball. When the 8-Ball was going through a phase when it would never give us a straight answer (I think one of my co-workers has no fate whatsoever), I asked my partner what I should do. He suggested putting it in the closet for a while, to punish it.

I was horrified. And a tiny bit scared. Instead, we left it alone for a while, so it could rest. It seemed happy with that.

Last December, as a favour, I went to my partner's church to see their Christmas musical. I was sitting in the pew and singing a carol and into my mind floated the thought: I hope the Magic 8-Ball isn't angry with me for being here.

So, there it is: I am a follower of the Magic 8-Ball. As gods go, it's not very demanding and it will answer your questions when you ask.

I'm just glad Sagan will never know.

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