Sometimes the Best Magic Isâ€¦
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.
â€œThatâ€™s classified,â€ my least favorite astrophysicist told me over crossed arms several years ago.
I reminded him, over crossed arms (mine), that I had the same clearances he did.
â€œWell, you donâ€™t have a need to know. I just need you to sign off on what Iâ€™m doing.â€
But I didnâ€™t know what he was doing, I reminded him. That was the point. He wanted me to take the responsibility for spending a solid $15M of taxpayer dollars without ever knowing what it was for. And he tended to play by his own rules and his own idea of what was legal. His worst habit, which Iâ€™d always put a stop to, was trying to hide behind so-called security veils to do whatever the hell he wanted. Yeah, that would play really well on 60 Minutes.
Iâ€™d had other scientists and engineers ask me to support them, to Â believe in them and what they were doing, sight un- seen, and Iâ€™d done it. But with this guy, it was different. He had a bad track record with me. Â Only Â a month before, Iâ€™d caught him in a lie, and his response had been Â that he didnâ€™t think someone with a background in liberal arts was smart enough to know he was lying. Yeah, Mr. Brainiac actually said that.
In the end, I turned him down and I never worked with him again Â after that. He couldnâ€™tâ€”or wouldnâ€™tâ€”give me the answers I needed. No one ever signed off on his plan of action and it never happened. But with blinders on, I couldnâ€™t agree to what he wanted.
In my day job, the need-to-know is determined by people far above my pay grade. But sometimes, when I have to put my future on the line, I get to determine it myself.
In my private life, I have a strong need to know. Itâ€™s my scarecrow, yes. Analysis. The need to know. To understand. To be able to plan.
I can research. I can divine to my heartâ€™s content. Often Iâ€™m given information without asking, and the information Iâ€™m given from mortal sources is often designed to mislead me, to play on my fears and long-standing expectation of disappointments. I get answers, but theyâ€™re answers I canâ€™t stand. Too of- ten, theyâ€™re downright lies.
Theyâ€™re petty manipulations to keep me in my place or to keep me away from someone or to use my creative fires for their own purposes. And Iâ€™m really weary of it.
I hate not knowing. Itâ€™s more than a want-to-knowâ€”itâ€™s a Â gut-deep Â need-to-know. Â I Â donâ€™t Â have Â to Â know Â everything about the Â future, but I need to know the present. I need to know where I am before I go forward in the wrong direction. I like to be sure of things, and I can never be completely sure. I just have to jump and hope that net Â appears sometime before the sudden stop.
But that doesnâ€™t make the not knowing any better. And to fill in the void of not knowing, thereâ€™s always someone with a theory or with â€œnewsâ€ that will sting. The void of not-knowing is so wide sometimes, that itâ€™s easy to want it to be filled, even with garbage.
â€œSometimes,â€ The Treat once told me in a text message, â€œthe best magick is asking yer questions outright.â€
In his absence, I really miss those wild conversations with him. I wish I could talk to him about this now. Heâ€™d probably give me some Â kind of crazy-deep scientific/philosophical explanation in a mix of urban Â slang, Spanish, and 8-syllable words. I hate that heâ€™s gone.
But I understand his point. Sometimes instead of trying to figure everything out and puzzle it out, you just have to take the chance and ask the question if you want to see something happen, want to see it move from idea to reality. But sometimes the question doesnâ€™t yield an answer I want to hear.
Sometimes the questions I ask yield only silence or, best case, the simple word, â€œWait.â€