Home > Bitching, Jobs, New York > The Time I Cradled Crystal Balls

The Time I Cradled Crystal Balls

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments


For two of my jobs in New York, I’ve had to do substantial research into crystal balls. These are unrelated jobs in completely different fields. Perhaps I was meant to be a fortune teller, but missed my true calling.
The first time, I was working at the temp job mentioned in this post. One day, the head of the company decided to give me an actual job instead of leaving me to absently drool on myself. She told me that she wanted to turn the conference room into a type of séance for a potential client. It was a PR firm, so I guess bizarre stuff like this is par for the course. She asked me to look into crystal balls. The idea was to bring the client into a darkened room, then have their “future” appear in the crystal ball – specifically, the client’s company was to appear on a tiny cover of Time magazine, implying that if they signed on with the firm, they’d become famous.

When I asked her how this mystical magazine cover was to appear, she replied, “I don’t know, maybe a hologram or something?” She explained her vision thusly: she wanted the image to appear gradually, then rotate within the crystal ball as the topic was discussed, the disappear. Ah, I realized, she wants actual MAGIC. Well, that’s going to be a little fucking difficult.

She told me to call some magic shops in the village, because, “Surely they have something that does that kind of thing?” I knew it was ridiculous, but I called up the shops anyway, only to be laughed at immediately. I started trying to think of creative solutions. After all, I had been bored to tears at this job for a few months, and after being given an actual TASK, I wanted to blow their socks off.

I came up with a few ideas. Maybe something like this, which creates a floating hologram using an actual object and mirrors, could be placed beneath a clear glass globe. By turning it on only when the Time magazine image was to appear, it might seem to materialize like magic. The use of a fog machine or dry ice could help enhance the effect.

A more low-tech solution could be simply getting two halves of a crystal ball, then sandwiching a mock-up of the magazine between the two sections. The ball could be covered with a cloth at first, or obscured by a fog machine, before revealing to the client their “future.” After an afternoon of research where I had collected tons of links, I sent off my report.

The boss later came by my desk, and said, “No, this isn’t what I meant at all.” Annoyed, I told her point blank that since magic didn’t really exist, this was the best I could do. “No, no…I’m picturing something different.” I had her draw a picture of what she meant, since apparently I wasn’t getting it.

What she drew was a simple glass paperweight. “See? We just put the magazine under that! That’ll be perfect!”


At my current job, one of our ideas for an award involves a crystal ball. Don’t ask.

We wanted something big, so I ordered the largest crystal ball I could find, which was 200 mm in diameter. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that such a massive ball made of glass and quartz would be heavy. My mistake. The package arrived today, and the ball is the size of a basketball and weighs close to 30 lbs. It might not be fit for an award, but it’s oddly beautiful.

I now have to order three more sizes of crystal balls. This is going to be my life from now on. Office jobs, and huge balls. I knew it!

Categories: Bitching, Jobs, New York
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