When I saw the Magic 8 Ball on the guy’s desk I began to smile. It reminded me of some of the shenanigans I had with one. Specifically how I got someone to believe a Magic 8 Ball was a real person.
It was back in my days as a stockbroker. The office I worked in was typical of the company I worked for. 90% younger guys, 9% older men to keep the young guys in line, and 1% women because they worked at the company for so long they had the threat of suing for sexual harassment. In fact, one of my old bosses did just that when they tried to screw with her position.
With a bunch of men in their 20s, it isn’t surprising we got a softball team going. Our team wasn’t that good. We were lucky to win more than 3 games. But what we did have was a good time. That good time started at precisely 3:30 on game day when someone would yell to Frank, “Hey, Frankie, we gonna win today?” Frank would look up from his phone and pause, then respond, “Well, let’s sees what the Magic 8 Ball has to say!” He would then shake it up and ask the question. Would the softball team win tonight’s game? If the response was affirmative there would be some whooping and hollering. If negative- which was way more often the response- there would be some cussing and talk about how stupid the 8 ball was. Yet each week we would ask the question and await the answer. It wasn’t towards the end of the season that we realized the 8 ball had a better record than our team did.
A year later I would take a position across town in a smaller office. I worked with one of the biggest assholes I had ever met. I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me. Sorry if I don’t like men that verbally abuse their girlfriends on the phone or go out to help them when they flip their car over, totally the vehicle, calling for support, but instead hears him tell her to stop crying and just go to the hospital if it was that bad. The guy was a real piece of work.
When I went to the new office I decided to get my own Magic 8 Ball. I guess I wanted to replicate the feel of the old place. I thought I would go with a twist though. Instead of softball games I would use the 8 Ball to make stock predictions. Why do the work if the Magic 8 Ball can do it for you? I started by taking it out of the box and placing it on a stock guide (a stock guide was a list of all symbols for every stock traded. Nowadays you can easily look it up on the net, but back then you had a guide). I figured I would keep the Magic 8 Ball on the stock guide for a couple of days and season let it; let it soak up the knowledge in the book. Whenever possible I would place the ball back on the book so it could recharge.
I would then start to ask questions of it. I would mention a particular company and whether it should be bought. I would never recommend to a client what the result was but I tracked it in my mind.
Then one day I was speaking to a friend in Michigan. I was telling him about a stock we were buying how it was doing well for us. At one point I joked and said “MEB loves Snapotics”. As in from the movie Wall Street, “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel”. Right away he asked who MEB was. I could tell him it stood for Magic Eight Ball. He would have thought I was crazy. But it stuck.
I talked with this friend every couple of days. It soon became common for him to ask me what MEB liked. He would then ask of stocks he liked and if I could get MEB’s opinion on them. He would ask who MEB was and how MEB knew all of this. I never did tell him.
A couple months later he was out of the business. To this day I wonder what happened?