Sunday, July 12, 2009

You Arrogant Magician...

I saw a magician tonight that made my skin crawl. I make no claims to be the world’s greatest, however, I do have a little constructive criticism. Here is what happened. The magician gave the spectator a deck of cards. He said in a moment, he was going to have the spectator shuffle the deck of cards, go through some motions and freely select a card. Very simple and direct, but NOT before the magician was going to write down a prediction. The magician wrote down the prediction and placed it under a glass tumbler, so we could see it the whole time. So far so good. The spectator shuffled the deck, followed the magicians instructions and eventually chose a card. The magician then made the point that he (the spectator) had a completely fair choice in picking his card. And here is, where I believe, the trick went sour. The magician asked the spectator to turn her card over. It was the Nine of Spades. The magician grinned and said, “… let’s see what my prediction was… what do you know? I wrote the Nine of Spades.”

Do you see or feel what the issue I have is?

The trick itself maybe took 1m 30s. Everything was great until the VERY end. The magician, KNOWING what he wrote, waited until the card was revealed, THEN he showed his prediction. After the spectator turned the card over, the magician smiled (a smile that will give me nightmares) a cocky, stupid smile and said “… let’s see what my prediction was…”. Well it’s been less than 2 minutes since you started the trick! Don’t act like you DON’T know what you wrote down, you JUST did it! Now I feel like the magician is being arrogant. Like he knows he’s right, but wants some sort of self satisfaction from the spectator.

When I make a prediction, here is what I do. I wait BEFORE they turn the card over. I take the prediction myself, or let them take it so they know there isn’t any funny business going on, and read it aloud. THEN I have them turn the card over, or however the prediction trick is supposed to work. So now it feels like (to the both of us) that maybe I wasn’t sure what prediction I wrote would be correct, so, when the prediction is read and when the card is turned over we BOTH have an experience of “WOW!” The prediction was correct. We both get to enjoy it, me because there was a chance I could have been wrong, but wasn’t and the spectator feels that he genuinely didn’t know my prediction would be correct either, but it was!

If that were ME tonight, that’s how I would have done it. But it wasn’t.