Thoughts on products, performance, and doublethink in the magic community.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Was I Really THAT Good?

I don't usually make two posts in the same day, but something bizarre happened today. Actually yesterday, since I'm making a late post, but what the hell.

I took a job as a camp counselor at a local camp. I was doing magic with cards, coins, pens, and whatever I could get my hands on. And that was just the first day. I have no idea how I'm going to survive two weeks with 40 kids constantly begging me to perform.

All of my campers think I have a photographic memory because I can dead cut to the four aces, or any card named. Actually, I'm just a scam-artist who's really good at culling, but that's irrelevant.

Now I'll get to the point. Two kids asked me if I am "really magic," if I really do have "powers." One was probably 11 years old, the other close to 13. Their question totally took me by surprise. (I wasn't even doing mentalism, just sleight of hand). I never expect a question like that from someone older that 7 years old.

I had no clue how to react. After some thought, I said "It's not real magic, but it's what real magic would look like." (I have no clue who's line this is, but I've heard it somewhere.)

Obviously, the easy answer would have been "No," but I thought that would've been too blunt. Not in keeping with the "actor playing the part of a magician" stuff that we abide by.

I'm still not sure I answered adequately. How would you have handled the question?

While I'm waiting for your answers, I'll be coming up with new ways to scam my campers into believing in my amazing memory powers.


Blogger MagiFeller said...

Theo would be proud of you, even if you weren't doing mentalism.

I think that was a pretty good answer, and even more so because you're going to be around these kids for two weeks. By offering more than just a blunt answer, you've shown them some respect. It's just a little thing but it goes a long way towards good rapport.

Personally (and without the 2 weeks together part), I'd probably have said something similar but given them a creepy smile to keep them guessing.

I've always liked the idea of mentalism with a disclaimer advertised or posted before the show, but never mentioned by the performer.

People still draw their own conclusions. Despite disclaimers some will still believe, and it lets skeptics relax a little (and maybe even enjoy themselves).

Robert Frost has a great quote that has deep meaning in magic.

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."

In other words, you must believe.

3:46 PM


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