I love magic. I’m not ashamed. That’s not entirely true. I’m ashamed of people who don’t love magic. You have no wonder in your cold, cold hearts. There’s a comedian I’ve recently gotten way into by the name of Pete Holmes who does a whole bit about loving magic. Skip ahead to 1:01
If that voice sounds familiar to you, that’s because you know Pete as the voice of the e-Trade baby. That’s your fun fact for today.
I’ve loved magic since I was in second grade. That was when I saw my first David Copperfield special on TV. I was hooked. He was my hero. Then I made my first communion. My parents gave me a card and it said “You’ll be getting your gift in a few weeks.” Obviously it was something that took some time to arrive and wouldn’t fit in the reception hall. It must be the Batmobile right!?
It wasn’t, but it was still pretty amazing. One day my folks told me and my brother to hop in the car and we were going to go downtown and spend the day. When we were in the car my mom said this was going to be my first communion present. We were going to go to Lafayette Coney Island for lunch (this is a much bigger treat to me now than it was then) and then maybe to the Detroit Zoo or something. After lunch, we were walking around downtown and we started walking by the Fox theatre. I looked at the marquee and it said David Copperfield. I said “Oh man! Wouldn’t it be so cool if we were going to that?!” and that’s when my mom handed me the tickets. I still remember tricks (you know, what a whore does for money....or cocaine) that were performed that day. Even with all that I’ve learned about magic since then, the methods elude me. It’s clear that David Copperfield is some sort of sorcerer who sacrifices virgins and bathes in their blood to acquire his control over the dark forces of magic. Or at least, it was clear until the internet came along. I’ll get back to that.
After seeing David Copperfield, my career path was clear. I gave up my dreams of being an ice cream man (which I wanted to do because one of my coloring books had a picture of Goofy driving an ice cream truck and stuffing his face full of ice cream. Once I realized that I could have all the free ice cream I wanted, being an ice cream man seemed like the only career choice a rational person would make) and asked my dad to take me to Lauer’s Novelty shop so I could begin developing my routine. I bought the one where the three ropes of different lengths become the same length, I got a magic coloring book, some disappearing crayons, a simple production box, and a disappearing hankey. Look out Copperfield, I’m about to make the time you ripped the heads off of a live duck and a live chicken and switched them look like child’s play.
I practiced and I read and I performed in two talent shows. I attempted to get a job as an assistant for David Vitorelli, a magician who did a show on the local cable access channel. He called me at home and told me I was a little too young to assist him, but he gave me some advice and sent me an autographed headshot. I went to Pearl City Chinese with my down the street neighbors all the time because he performed there on occasion. He was another hero.
All in all, I did magic for like 3 years, until I started earning an allowance and being forced to pay for my own tricks. At that point, it was just too expensive. Like haircuts.
As time would go by, I would find myself earning more money as I aged. There were pockets of history when I could afford a trip to the magic shop now and again and I would get real into it again for a few months. At a point in college, I tried to actually earn some money (or a free meal at least) by trying to get local chain restaurants to have a kids night where I would walk around doing table magic for tips (and a free meal at the end of the night) but none of them were interested. I still have a little case with like 10 or 12 tricks which I will occasionally take out of the closet and fiddle with. When I was working for Careerbuilder, the guys on my team asked me to bring in some tricks one day to entertain them. It was then that I realized that the internet was ruining magic.
I love the internet. I love that anything that you want to know is at your fingertips, but I also think it’s ruining us. (Pete Holmes has a bit about this as well. You may have watched it after watching the first, but if you didn’t you should check it out). Specifically, it’s ruining magic.
One of my favorite tricks is the Scotch and Soda. It’s a great coin routine, is relatively easy to perform, and really wowed my co-workers when I did it. Then I went to lunch. When I came back, they had looked up Scotch and Soda on youtube, found out the secret, and were taunting me.
So I’m urging you, magic fans, that if you want to know the secrets, take up an interest in magic and continue to protect the secrets. Spend the money on the tricks, learn them, and spread the wonder. Don’t be a dickbag and post public tutorials on how to do a trick I spent 30 bucks to purchase.