Stefan Cozza and the Wizard in Downtown Chicago

By Evan Davis 

On a chilly Wednesday night, I spoke to Stefan Cozza, a junior English and Creative Writing double major at Widener University ’22, about his experience with a wizard in downtown Chicago. Stefan is the Editor-in-Chief of The Blue Route, an international undergraduate literary magazine. It takes its title from the nickname of a stretch of highway local to campus. 

About joining The Blue Route and assuming its top leadership position, Stefan told me, “That it is a club and organization I finally found myself able to fit into and contribute meaningfully to. [It is] something I am actively involved in. I’m actively part of the gears that get it going and keep it running.” 

Using one of my famous get-to-know-you questions, I asked Stefan what is something people wouldn’t believe about him and why? Here are some unbelievable facts about Stefan Cozza: 

“I started cooking, that’s something people might not expect.” 

“My favorite animal is a capybara, that’s a good one.” 

“I like dark comedies, horror movies a lot.” 

“There was a four year stretch where I was obsessed with The Beatles, that one’s pretty weird. I mean I was, like, obsessed. I would research facts and it was obsessive.” 

To close out our interview, I set out to ask a hyperthetical question. Written by the author Chuck Klosterman, hypertheticals are a series of 50 questions which can be asked at random to spark insane or intriguing conversations. The point of playing the game is that whoever fields the question not only answers it, but explains the thought process and reasoning behind the answer. 

We played through the following hyperthetical: “You meet a wizard in downtown Chicago. The wizard tells you he can make you more attractive if you pay him money. When you ask how this process works, the wizard points to a random person on the street. You look at this random stranger. The wizard says, ‘I will now make them a dollar more attractive.’ He waves his magic wand. Ostensibly, this person does not change at all; as far as you can tell, nothing is different. But–somehow–this person is suddenly a little more appealing. The tangible difference is invisible to the naked eye, but you can’t deny that this person is vaguely more attractive. This wizard has a weird rule, though–you can only pay him once. You can’t keep giving him money until you’re satisfied. You can only pay him one lump sum up front. How much do you pay the wizard?” 

Stefan’s response: “I’m gonna say $10, okay? And I’ll give my reasoning: It’s not an outrageous amount of money to where I’m gonna lose that much. And if something happens, like, either way, it’s gonna be crazy because something happened based on some crazy wizard doing some crazy stuff to me. I can’t go over that because that would be a weird waste of my money. But, I know that if one unit isn’t significant enough to make a significant change but then 10 units….If one unit made a slight change in how I perceive that person’s attractiveness then $10 has to do at least ten times that. So $10 isn’t enough of a risk to outweigh the benefits of it, if there are benefits.” 

A very rational reasoning, indeed. It is this skill in risk management and the spirit to pursue adventure which makes Stefan Cozza the splendid chief of The Blue Route

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