Greetings From The Answer Ferret!
I have had so many questions from my ferret readers about the Magic Glass Box that I’m going to devote this entire column to it. Very little is actually understood about the Magic Glass Box, but it is obviously at the center of daily Hoomin life. Its form has changed drastically in recent years. Where once it was a big, thick cube, now it is an enormously large and thin rectangle. Still, virtually every Hoomin “living room” has one. Some Hoomin habitats even have more than one! Now, to the questions.
Dear Answer Ferret: Why won’t the Hoomins let us use the Box controller? I take it at least once or twice a day, but they take it back so quickly that I have not learned how to use it yet. It’s not fair.
— Angry in Nova Scotia
Dear Angry: I understand your frustration. Sometimes I see pictures of animals on the Magic Glass Box, and I would like to watch them. Sometimes I see interesting food. But I cannot tell the Hoomins that I want to keep watching these things. They do not listen to me. And I, too, would like to understand how that controller with the little rubber buttons works. Honestly, I would like the controller just for the little rubber buttons themselves. They smell good. But I have read many reports from my readership of the Hoomins taking the controller away. Honestly, I am starting to wonder if the Hoomins want to watch the Magic Glass Box, or if they have to, if it is a compulsion, and that is why they guard the controller so jealously. It would seem to explain their attitude toward the controller. Also, they seemingly build their habitats around the Magic Glass Boxes. The Hoomins softest furniture is positioned to allow them to watch the Box for hours and hours. They eat in front of the Box. Sometimes they even mate in front of the Box! Who would do these things if they did not have to? Don’t be angry at the Hoomins. Pity them. Pity them this senseless addiction.
Dear Answer Ferret: I love when my Hoomins worship the Magic Glass Box, because they bring out bowls of chips and dip. Oooooo, to get a few licks of dip. But of course I can’t let them know. The She-Hoomin would shriek. And sometimes I even get to steal some chips to store under the radiator. They taste really good when they get hot and it’s so warm under there. I can see everything that goes on. Sometimes they fall asleep watching the Box, and I do an evil thing. If I jump up and down on the Magic Glass Box, the pictures change. I love it when I change the pictures during the middle of a “game.”
— Smug Ferret
Dear Smug: You touch upon three very important aspects of the Magic Glass Box!
First, there is the Hoomins’ love of eating while watching it. A smart ferret can steal many marvelous bits of food while the Hoomins’ attention is focused on the Box. One should also not overlook the beverages that can be tipped over, just for the fun of it! And it is fun, lots of fun, to tip over a full glass!
Second, there is the outrageously funny spectacle of a Hoomin going mad because the picture on the Magic Glass Box has somehow become distorted. This can often be accomplished by biting or pulling at the mass of wires behind the Box, but care should be taken while doing that. Do NOT bite or pull at the wires that lead into the wall. Those can throw you through the air for several feet and burn your whiskers. Again, avoid any and all wires that lead into the wall.
And third, it is interesting that you chose to describe the Hoomins as “worshipping” the Magic Glass Box. There has long been a school of thought suggesting that Hoomins are actually engaging in some sort of spiritual communion with the Box. To date, though, no ferret has been able to understand what, if any religious meaning the images on the Box hold for the Hoomins. The images themselves are so varied, so seemingly random, that it is quite impossible to view them and arrive at any understanding of what values they might symbolize apart from a reverence for a thing called “reruns.”
Dear Answer Ferret: I want a Magic Glass Box for our cage. My Cage Mate thinks that would be a terrible idea, but I like the colors and the pictures. It would be like hanging art on our wall. Which one of us do you think is right?
— Curious in Nevada
Dear Curious: I am afraid that I must side with your Cage Mate. The Magic Glass Box is a Hoomin thing. We do not need it. And I am not certain that it would be good for us. We ferrets need a great deal of quiet sleep every day, and I believe that the Magic Glass Box would prove disruptive. You would feel tired and cranky in no time at all. I, personally, have never seen a Magic Glass Box small enough to fit inside of a cage. Oh, they might exist, but again even a small Magic Glass Box would no doubt disturb your sleep. If, and I am just saying if here, the Hoomins allowed you to have a controller and you figured out how to use it…what would you do if you wanted to watch one kind of picture and your Cage Mate wanted to watch another? You would have disharmony. There would be biting. You would each sleep alone in separate hammies. This is not the ferret way.
Dear Answer Ferret: My Hoomins have been sad for two days. The Magic Glass Box broke. Now it is dark, only dark. How can I fix it? It breaks my heart that they are so unhappy!
— Hurt in New Jersey
Dear Hurt: The first question to answer is, did the Magic Smoke come out of the Box? The Hoomins have many, many amazing devices that perform tasks for them. Some of these devices are very fragile, though. If the Magic Smoke comes out of them (usually accompanied by a loud, bad noise, sometimes sparks) the device will never work again. Ever. It is a very mysterious business. In many cases, those wires that go into the wall that I cautioned you against biting seem to be involved.
If you saw the Smoke come out, the Box cannot be repaired, only replaced. If that is the case, you must understand that your Hoomins are in a deep state of mourning. They need time to understand and accept the scale of their loss. In time, when they are ready, they will replace their Box, but apparently the Magic Glass Box is a very personal thing. They are not always replaced right away. You need to respect that the Hoomins have suffered a terrible loss, and allow them to grieve. They may not want to wrestle-play as much, but may be more receptive to a cuddle. Fortunately, once they have a new Box, they will recover very quickly.
If you did not see any evidence of the Smoke, the situation is less clear-cut. The Box may recover, it may not. In either case, respect that this is a very difficult transitional time for your Hoomins, and be as supportive as you can. Now is not, say, the time to dig up all of the houseplants.
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