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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.link-young.jpg
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.


when i was younger i found an old skeleton key and i wore it on a string around my neck. every so often i would get this thought - and, if noone was looking, i'd hold the key in the air and sort of turn it. nothing ever happened but every time i thought 'this is it, this time a door will open.' it never did but i should really try every now and again.

I fully agree, except I won't be playing Zork, I'll be playing Morrowind.

Dang, you're the first person I've ever run tinto who read Edward Eager as a kid.

I remember Man, Myth, and Magic, Herbie Brannon was a character. Big light in the Occult and Fortean communities. And a tad controverseal among some.

He later designed and wrote the RPG Man, Myth, and Magic for Yaquinto Publishing. The first adventure published for it featured Roman Legionaires traveling to (among other places) Ireland and Venus. And the Venus of modern astronomy at that. Gonzo experience.

I suspect Herbie didn't take a lot of things at all seriously.

some of us are on a quest, far beyond any imagined...


practical magic is all thats left...

(hope you enjoy the link as much as i enjoy your site...)

Michele, you really captured something that I've sometimes felt... that life needs some adventures, something beyond the everyday. I had a dream when I was a kid (a real, at-night dream) that I lifted up some large green tiles in my grandparents' basement, and found a tunnel that led me into an underground cavern. I proceeded to have an adventure very similar to "the Goonies". (I was probably about the same age as the kids in the movie, so that's probably why I dreamed that.)

Michele, you sure can paint wistful emotions with words. Brava.