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Hamburger or cheesburger? Left or right? Sleep or go to the bathroom? These are just some of the daunting decisions we all face on a regular basis, decisions that can cause us anxiety, grief, or a bout of food poisoning (if we’re not careful). And that’s not even including the many greater decisions we must make, the ones whose magnitude reaches far beyond a few days of food poisoning: career, relationships, finances. So what do you do when the overwhelming array of decisions hits you and your mind is so flooded with the possibilities, advantages, and disadvantages? Simple: give the responsibility to someone else! Or, in the case of this post, something else. Today, we honor decision making tools and toys that seem kind of counterintuitive to trust but we do it anyways!
If you’ve got simple questions, the Magic 8-Ball has your simple answers. You might recognize the novelty toy as something from eras gone by, perhaps something your parents or grandparents might have played with or owned. Heck, maybe you had one growing up, too! I did, and I used it when stalling to do homework. And the Magic 8-Ball requires virtually no thinking on your part: hold the toy right side up, think about your burning question, and flip it over to reveal a window of navy liquid surrounding your answer in white letters. With a dice with 20 different answers ranging from a straightforward “yes” to the less productive “reply hazy, ask again later”, the Magic 8-Ball might not be magic per se, but it’s just a frivolous little way to throw caution to the wind. Try the “online oracle” 8-ball for a time killer!
Maybe 20 possibilities is just too many for your measly question. Perhaps the six-answered Decision Maker would fit the gravity of leaving a decision up to something that looks like a science lab reject. But the Decision Maker does in fact utilize science in making up your mind for you: the desk toy uses a magnet to “make” one decison over another. A pendulum hangs so tensely from a pole, and once you pull it back and let it go, it seems to be just as confused as you, swinging from one decision to the next. But after some “thought”, it is magnetically motivated towards just one, hovering with a slight quiver above “yes”, “maybe”, “no way”, “definitely”, “ask a friend”, and of course, “try again”. (Argh, why must decision making tools include ambivalence? Doesn’t that just defeat the purpose?)
Feeling a little more reckless than just using your average decision making toy? Throw it all to chance with a Decision Paperweight. This novelty toy might be likened to chucking a couple of die across your desk: just spin the middle dial and let friction slow it down. But unlike the decision makers above, weird answers that aren’t really answers at all are excluded (unless you count “maybe”). Instead, your additional options make the Decision Paperweight a little more relevant. Should I go to the market? “Tomorrow.” Should I admit that smell is me? “Pass the buck.” How about that party, should I just cancel it? “Reorganize.” Can do! Thanks, Decision Paperweight! (thumbs up)
Are you just too flustered with decision making to even focus and read your petty answers?! Schrödinger’s Cat takes all the complexity out of making decisions with a simple “yes” or “no” depicted by a perky kitty (yes) or a dead one (no). Schrödinger’s Cat refers to the thought experiment over the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which would seem to contradict common sense. Though the geek toy seems perhaps too elaborate for such a simple function, what it lacks in decisions it makes up for in amusement; watch the demo below to see what we mean!
Though we wouldn’t recommend using a Magic 8-Ball when deciding whether to propose to your girlfriend of x amount of years (what if it says, “Better not tell you now”?), giving away some responsibility of making decisions when you can can be both relieving and a little liberating. You’re not Superman, after all, and you can only do so much. So give yourself a break, let Wheel of Lunch decide what you’re eating next, and relax a little; there’s not enough time in the day to worry about the little things!