Drat those kid-TV commercials. It’s interesting how they can take a fresh young mind and turn it into an obsessed mush-pile.
I’ve seen the commercial, the gravity-defying ball of mystery called a Fushigi ball. It floats over hands, shoulders and all upper extremities like a rotating self-guided soap bubble. It’s cool. The gurus who sell it make it look so magic. Who wouldn’t want one?
Me. Because I know. It’s not a gravity-defying miracle. It’s a professional course in false advertizing.
But hey, they make it look so cool and kids like it. My son saved and saved for one, so I ordered the dang thing online. The confirmation e-mail said to expect it in two to three weeks. Sigh. This was going to be a very long month of August.
My well-organized child made a countdown sheet with numbered squares to check off each day.
Each day was an exercize in patience because, sadly, I knew nothing. The Fushigi company only sent the one e-mail, sans a tracking number or any further information.
We made the mistake of going on vacation during this time. Several kind neighbors offered to watch the house for us. I put a hold on our mail, so, just in case it came that way, it would sit safely down at the post office and not at our doorstep, where every kid in the country would descend and filch our hopes, dreams, and all future possibility for sanity.
We returned from vacation to no Fushigi ball. It was the end of the world. We didn’t know if it had been stolen by Fushigi seeking bandits, or aliens needing anti-gravity devices, or the mailman. (He would really want one, right?)
Another week passed. School was starting. The three weeks of waiting passed. No Fushigi ball.
Then I got another e-mail. “Congratulations! Your ball has just been shipped from LA. It should arrive in 5-10 days.”
Oh, joy. I gave my son the news. On the one hand, it was good to know that none of the people around us were thieving hoodlums. On the other hand, a new count-down chart went up and the waiting began all over again.
I just about cried when it came in the mail over the weekend. My son tore the industrial-grade tape from the small box. Out came the ball. It was plastic, with an off-center steel core.
When he held it out to levitate, it fell to the floor with a resounding thud. He looked up at me. Double joy.
Thankfully there was a video. We plugged it in. A twenty-something, thin young man with a tasteful ponytail gave detailed instructions while he demonstrated clever slight-of-hand.
And if my son gives up eating, sleeping, school, and all other nonsense stuff, and devotes himself to five years of continual, devoted practice (and buys a bunch more balls), he can be as good.
But hey, I understand the mania. After all, when I was his age, I did the same thing with Sea Monkeys (cute little pet mermaids and mermen).
It turns out they were just ugly little brine shrimp the size of this 'J'. Well, they were kinda cute if you looked at them cross-eyed.
So, if you're dying to see the magic of Fushigi, come to my house . . . in a few years.