I’ll Try Anything Once: Let a Magic 8-Ball Make My Decisions for One Day

What would my life look like if I left all the decisions I would normally make on my own up to the affirmative, negative, or non-committal roll of the icosahedral die?
Publish date:
April 26, 2012
Brooklyn, parties, fun, dares, cake, bagels, fate, self will

Fate: I’m too much of a control freak to believe in it. Or am I? My first instinct is to say this because I have that all-or-nothing sloppy perfectionism that has me micromanaging every zeptosecond of each life within my reach, or giving up supremely in anticipation of impending doom (now that half’s fatalism). I’m also prone to exaggeration.

Here’s the challenge set before me (by myself): What would my life look like if I left all the decisions I would normally make on my own up to the affirmative, negative, or non-committal roll of the icosahedral die? In clearer, shorter words: What if I put my free will in the hands of a Magic 8-Ball, if just for one day?

Generally speaking, I think everything happens for a reason, has purpose, and additively creates the person you are, placing you exactly in this moment. Om, bitch. That doesn’t stop me from trying to force my way through life based on the outcomes I think I desire. Confused? You won’t be after this episode of 8-Ball My Life. (You may still be.)

Admittedly, I picked a day for this experiment that wouldn’t get me fired from my day job, but one with it’s own unique potential dangers: the Sunday of my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s 70th birthday extravaganza in Brooklyn.

My husband and I could only arrange about 50 hours away from Chicago and 16 of those hours belonged to the 8-Ball (technically the least amount of time I’ve lost to an eightball. Oh, cocaine. You’re in the past).

I unboxed my newly purchased $8.25 Kmart-acquired destiny-decider and placed it next to my pillow for immediate waking usage.

Several hours later, I waked. Mike was wondering if I wanted to ride along to pick up bagels.

Shakeshakeshake:Outlook not so good

Oof. Bagel Boy is normally a two-person tuck-and-roll operation due to lack of legal parking, virtually everywhere in NYC. Sorry, dude. Love you.

Mike asked what kind of bagel I would like (spoiler: apparently upward of 80% of my daily decisions involve food). Magic, should I have a sweet-type bagel?

Shakeshakeshake: You may rely on it

Magic, should I have two bagels?

Shakeshakeshake: Cannot predict now (me and you both, M8-y)

Mike left. I was still crashed out for the most part. Magic, should I just go pee in the laundry room toilet instead of going upstairs yet?

Shakeshakeshake: Signs point to yes

Bagels arrived, no cinnamon raisin to be found. Should I have a poppy instead?

Shakeshakeshake: As I see it, yes

I had a morning and early afternoon of little or no decisions of my own. Much baby snuggling was involved and that’s natural law, not a choice. The 8-Ball gave me permission to accept a ride with my brother-in-law to a friend’s house. That was nice (although my niece was disappointed to not take a cab).

Once back at our Brooklyn home base, the Magic 8-Ball had a few ideas about how I would get ready for the party. Most were cool. All were fine really.

Should I wear the dress I bought for the party?

Shakeshakeshake: Better not tell you now

Why I oughta…

I asked again.

Shakeshakeshake: My reply is no (A manicure was also not in Magic’s plans for me. Whatever.)

Shit. Should I wear the dress from yesterday?

Shakeshakeshake: Yes

OK. Can I take a shower?

Shakeshakeshake: Signs point to yes

Lucky break for my mother-in-law.

Magic, heels?

Shakeshakeshake: Signs point to yes

When it was time to leave, there was a little who’s-driving-with-who-where’s-everybody-gonna-fit issue. Mag, town car?

Shakeshakeshake: Without a doubt


At the party it went like this: No to dancing, yes to more potatoes, yes to a Shirley Temple (very whimsical of Magic 8 and greatly apreeshed), then a hilarious hijacking of the Magic 8-Ball services by my three nieces under 8 years old who needed to settle who got to be each Chipette. Two were fighting for Brittany and no one wanted to be Jeanette. JEANETTE IS THE SMART ONE, YOU GUYS (is what I asserted regardless of Magic’s will). Eleanor almost buried the Magic 8-Ball in a potential Brittany’s forehead. Brooklyn girls. They eventually worked it out themselves.

My most nervous powerless moment came when I handed the choice of cake or no cake over to fate. That’s cruel, right? More than you know (with a twist):

Should I have cake?

Shakeshakeshake: Reply hazy, try again

Then: Cannot predict now

Then: Better not tell you now

THEN: Without a doubt

So what’s the twist? A second, more delicious (to me) cake was cut and presented during the time the Magic 8-Ball was yanking my chain over the first dessert. It was all, “Slow down, girl. Wait a minute. The cake you don’t even know you really want isn’t out here yet anyway.”

At the very end of the night, I was allowed my pajamas and denied a tooth brushing.

So maybe it wasn’t a very ballsy day to turn my will over to fate or maybe it was. It worked out just fine. Nobody got hurt, cake was eaten. The most interesting realization to me was how few decisions I viewed as my own choices. Do I let others make too many choices for me or am I just easygoing? Would I be like this at home or was this family visit travel mode? I don’t know. Am I really only in control of my hygiene, clothing and food decisions? That seems weird. But that gives me at least five more questions for the Magic 8-Ball.

Shakeshakeshake: Concentrate and ask again

Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachelMcPadden