Quest for Magic
Driving to work today, I noticed a new store on Bellmore Road. Well, not new exactly. For as long as I can remember, there has been a deli at this location. About twenty different delis. They come and go at varying intervals. One lasted quite a few years. Some lasted only months. I always figured one of these days someone will get it right - they'll recognize that there is a school across the street and start selling things based on the fact that their clientele is mostly mothers with young children and not people who are looking for a ten dollar sub with portabello mushrooms and imported peppers.
So I was pleased to see the new deli sign: Genie's Magic Deli!
What would make a deli magical? Are their pixies and sprites behind the counter? Is the food made by a guy with a glowing sword and +10 wizard skills? And then I had the most absurd thought, one which leads me to believe that I need to put down the video game controllers for a while.
I had a vision of walking into the Magic Deli and looking for a save spot. You know, peeking around the corners, looking for that glowing circle on floor....
You know, no matter how hard I wish for it, life will never be like an adventure game. It's not even close to a Choose Your Own Adventure book. And all I ever wanted was for my life to mirror that of all the grand adventures I ever read about or directed with a joystick or keyboard. Well, I also want life to play out like a movie musical, but that's another story. And I already wrote the "Why Isn't Life Like Zork" post:
When I was about three years old, someone told me that pirates once walked the shores of Long Island, searching for buried treasure. So I took my mother's spoons and headed out for the backyard where I proceeded to dig about a zillion holes in the ground searching for gold doubloons.
When I was five, I was told that Indians once lived on the very ground I stood on. So I took my mother's spoons and proceeded to dig up the backyard again, searching for arrowheads. I imagined that I was a fearless explorer, searching for remnants of past civilizations. I would be on the cover of National Geographic magazine some day.
When I was seven, I read books about magic kingdoms and dragons and worlds that existed inside of mountains. I dreamed of being small enough to fit into a mousehole and discovering whole new worlds that existed under the ground. I wrote tales of knightly quests and brave princesses and ogres and mean Kings.
When I was ten, I read books about magic coins and wishing wells and mystical wardrobes and I imagined that I would find one of these coins, and wish myself away to fantastic journeys, or ride the back of a lion on my way to save the world.
When I was twelve, I became obsessed with mythology. I daydreamed often of a world of gods and goddesses with the powers of the universe in their hands. I put myself in their world, helping them fight off evil. Sometimes I was evil and I would cast a lightning rod at my enemies here on earth.
When I was fourteen, my mother subscribed to a magazine called Man, Myth and Magic. I read every issue from cover to cover and back again. Dark magic inspired me as much as good magic. I read tales of ancient civilizations and dark powers and voodoo and cultures where quests were a way of life.
When I was older, and had my first computers (a Vic20 and a C64), I spent hours and days and weeks playing text adventure games. I traveled through exotic worlds and dark caverns. I met trolls and ogres and witches and carried secret weapons and magical words with me. I slayed dragons and defeated dark creatures.
In my heart, even as an adult, I wished these adventures could be real. I never stopped dreaming about magical quests. I never stopped wishing that wizards and ogres and were real. I never stopped dreaming that one day I would be crossing a bridge and a talking troll would be underneath. I never stopped exploring the woods for elves and hobbits.
Some day, I am going to go on a quest. I am going to slay a dragon. I am going to save a kingdom. I am going to find a ring or befriend an elf or decipher a treasure map.
Until then, I'll be playing Zork.