A map of the mushroom kingdom from teh super mario bros series of video games by nintendo

Making Decisions in the Mushroom Kingdom

I wonder if I ever told you about a friend of mine, from the Mushroom Kingdom, who was forever talking about visiting Green Hill Zone… but there was always something somehow… It just wasn’t the right time… they couldn’t afford it this year (the coin blocks were empty)… they had way too much work on (rebuilding after Bowser’s latest escapades)… my friend talked about it and talked about it and talked about it for years… and every now and then they would look into it…

 

 

This usually started with how to get there… you can fly direct of course from almost anywhere… just get yourself to a galaxy cannon… and you can be on Mobius in a matter of hours (via the Gateway Galaxy)… fast, efficient… no fuss… and before you know it, you are landing in an exotic land… walking out of the landing pad in bright sunshine with blue skies… angular palm trees gently swaying in the breeze… with all the sights and sounds and the gateway to Marble Zone in front of you…

 

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… however when my friend went to book the flight… the Bob-omb agent’s website showed an advert for the “Yoshi Falls Express”… a luxury train that goes overland across The Mushroom Kingdom… In Mushroom City (near the Moonview Highway) you get into a luxury Pullman… and travel through Yoshi Falls to Mushroom Gorge and Maka Wuhu… all while sitting in luxurious comfort… enjoying fine dining and wines… and maybe you can imagine it… the smell of Woohoo blend or Chuckoccino coffee… travelling through the heart of the Mushroom Kingdom and across Wuhu Island… glorious scenery slipping soundlessly past… snow shimmering on the distant Cool Cool Mountain tops… clattering over bridges by Soda Lake and hidden rivers… and as the train glides on through the Beanbean Kingdom in the night… snuggle into a comfortable bed in a private compartment… and in the the morning… a Toadstool waking you with tea… three days with nothing to do but relax…

 

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… and yet, it was quite expensive… maybe an organised coach trip would be a better way to travel… and cheaper… and searching found something different… a company that organised groups and you could get on and off where you wanted… and they booked the hotels and restaurants… and maybe it would be better to travel with a bunch of people… there would be someone to talk to… and singing on the coach… but on the other hand, maybe that would be the problem… stuck with the same people for days…

 

And while thinking about it… looking at it this way and that… and thinking that maybe this was not the right time to make a decision…

a butterfly landed nearby… with large golden wings with red markings… it sat there… flexed its wings uncertainly… as if surprised to have them… and when you think about it… what good are beautiful markings to a butterfly? A butterfly only lives for a day (less if a hungry Yoshi is nearby) and it’s all over… and I don’t suppose a butterfly puts much thought into ‘what if’ or ‘what’s best’. That butterfly enjoys the day, simply because the day is there.

 

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And the butterfly flapped its wings experimentally, and leapt into the wind….

… And my friend thought “Why not?”… ‘Maybe that’s the way to do it… Let the wind decide’…

And you know what my friend did?

 

 

They packed a suitcase and threw it into the car… grabbed their passport and some coins… and just took off.

I saw my friend later, much much later, looking really happy… and different somehow. I asked how Green Hill Zone was… And I heard a long story about accidental adventures in tiny places along the way… and new friends… and strange foods…. and nights spent shivering in the car in pouring rain… and night swims in moonlit lakes… and crazy powerups… and giant monoliths…

And in the middle of the story my friend said: ‘You know, I learned something from that butterfly: you can’t sit around when you only have one day to enjoy it all”.

Well, the outcome of the story was: my friend never got there. But the last thing they said to me that day was “Going to Green Hill Zone was great! I’m going to Green Hill Zone again next year!”

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Robin Bates – wielding a Mushroom Kingdom metaphor


 

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