Monday, November 20, 2006

Zoltim Tells All


Tom Hanks' movie Big was on over the weekend. It had been awhile since I'd seen it and I forgot how much I enjoyed that movie. The movie is about the magic of youth and the reality that getting older makes you less aware of that magic.

The cool thing about movies is that they can make magic seem real. Tom Hank's thirteen year old character puts a quarter in a fortune teller machine at a carnival and makes a wish that he was "big." The machine lights up (despite not being plugged in) and grants the boy his wish. He wakes up the next day with a 30-year old body. At first he is frightened, then excited and finally desperate to return to his 13-year old existence.

The plot may seem hackneyed now, but at the time it came out, it was refreshing and inspiring. Seeing it again just drove home to me how much I have aged. Being middle aged is a buzz kill for magic.

I remember believing in magic. I remember the little rituals I had as a kid like avoiding stepping on cracks or carrying around rabbits foots and fourleaf clovers. I remember this plastic ring my best friend in 5th grade got out of a gumball machine that had the head of a tiki god on it. He swore it was bad luck because the girls chased him every time he wore it. I remember borrowing it in hopes that some of that "bad" luck would rub off on me.

During the 70s I toyed with more adult magic of crystals, tarot cards and psychotherapy. None of pop metaphysical fads really captured the magic of being a kid. And the older I get, the more magic I lose to the realities of war, politics, economy, crime and just living. But I still look for magic every chance I get.

I think those of you with children have the advantage of being able live vicariously through your children's magic. I urge you to relish that and bath yourself in as much fairy dust as you can borrow from their stash. Because as Tom Robbins and See's Candy once said, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."
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