Today I had a phone interview with a 6-year-old from Wyoming. The reason for this interview was because this boy has alleged magical powers. I had to get to the bottom of these claims.
Of course I was excited to meet someone possessing supernatural abilities. But if I’m being honest, I was more excited to meet someone from Wyoming. I’ve never met anyone from this state. I was beginning to wonder if Wyoming existed.
Have you ever seen satellite images of the United States at night? The photos show lights from major cities, stringing across North America like a giant glowing vascular system. There is always a huge dark spot over Wyoming.
This is because Wyoming only has 579,000 residents. And to give you an idea of how few that is: the Atlanta metro area has 6 million.
To put it another way: Wyoming is 97,914 square miles, but within the entire state there are only two escalators. This is absolutely true. They’re both located in the town of Casper, and they’re both in banks.
So it was important to investigate these magic claims. You can’t have 6-year-old Wyoming residents going around professing otherworldly capabilities. Next thing you know, you’ll have 6-year-olds in Michigan claiming Detroit has a professional baseball team.
This whole thing started last week when an ordinary 6-year-old boy learned that his uncle was going through a painful divorce. The boy became so concerned about his uncle that he told his mother he wanted to use his “magical powers” to make his uncle feel better.
“Magical powers?” his mother said. “What?”
The boy’s powers consisted of dictating a message to his mother who typed an email that read:
“You’re an awesome uncle and I love you so much because you’re the best! I’m thinking about you today!”
The uncle was so touched by this magic that he almost cried. Except that men from the Cowboy State don’t cry per se. It’s a genetic thing. Instead they have routine testosterone runoffs through their eye ducts.
The tough-guy uncle was so inspired after this email that he sat at his computer and sent a few similar messages to his friends. The messages all went something like:
“You’re in my thoughts today… I want you to know that I care, and I truly love you. Merry Christmas.”
He received 23 replies in an hour. Many of his friends responded by saying that after reading his kindhearted email, they too were suffering from male pattern optical discharge syndrome. These email recipients went on to send identical heartfelt emails to THEIR people. On and on it went.
This leads us to me. Here in Florida I received one of these messages, which is what originally prompted my curiosity. The well-wishes arrived yesterday morning in the form of a text message from someone I barely know in Montanna.
The thing is, I woke up feeling pretty crummy yesterday, and a little downhearted. Our region has had a recent surge in coronavirus cases. Virtually everyone within my social circle is sick. Isolation has me feeling bummed.
Then (ding!) a random text pops up.
The person said they were thinking about me. My mood was instantly altered. I couldn’t believe how a single message could affect me. So I spent the day tracking down the source of this mini-domino effect and it led me out West, to a kid.
This morning I called the boy to discuss his magical powers. When his mother put him on the phone, our interview immediately became sidetracked. Because if there’s one thing I have learned over the years from interviewing children, it’s that kids rarely stay on topic for more than .003 nanoseconds. All you can do is follow their random neural firings.
For some reason this 6-year-old was confused and thought I was going to put him on TV. And no matter how many times I insisted that I was not with TV people, his hyperactive brain did not receive my message.
“I’m nervous about being on TV,” he said.
“No, you’re not going to be on TV, I called to ask you a few—”
“Do I hafta dress up?”
“You’re not going to be on TV.”
“I have a tie.”
“Look, I’m not with any TV people.”
“A green tie.”
“I called because I wanted to ask you about an email you sent.”
“With little stripes on it.”
And so it went.
After our short, disjointed conversation, this kid got me thinking. If a cheerful 6-year-old can possess magical abilities, what about a middle-aged guy with high cholesterol and an upside-down mortgage?
So I tried a magical experiment of my own. I sent text messages to people who I haven’t spoken to in years. I told them I was thinking about them. I even texted my old boss, who—how do I put this?—has not always been my favorite American.
To my surprise, my old boss was the first to reply. He texted: “Me? Seriously? Wow, I needed this today, man.”
More texts flooded in. In fact, my phone hasn’t quit vibrating.
One reply said: “I didn’t think anyone ever thought about me.”
Another: “This totally made my day. Merry Christmas.”
And another: “Do these magical powers work on the ladies? Asking for a friend.”
So although this whole Christmas magic experiment was aimed at making other people feel better, do you know what happened instead? What happened is that for the first time in a long time, despite the state of our sad world, despite all the problems in society, right now this writer feels as sunny as a 6-year-old.
Wyoming. What a downright magical place.