When I was in college, I worked as a magician and a magician’s assistant. It all started when I was called to the dean’s office at Flagler College. Earlier that day, I had thrown water balloons from the top of the rotunda down onto unsuspecting students, and I figured that’s what he wanted to talk about.
I was happily surprised when he explained that a magician, Bill Clary, was performing that night and needed an assistant that fit my description. I agreed and was sent to meet him and rehearse before the evening show. Upon leaving Dean White’s office, he shouted out, “And no more water balloons, Miss Dewey!” He was awesome.
Working with Bill Clary was amazing. I learned and performed many illusions that were actually performed by the great Harry Houdini. He taught me that all magic tricks are simply an illusion. He said, “If you can look at it as an illusion, a trick of the eye, you can usually figure it out.”
I thought my magic career would begin and end after that show, but it didn’t. For two years I performed at various functions in the state of Ohio as a magician. An agent had contacted me and said with my facial expressions and acting ability – we would be rich! I think it is safe to say that not only was I not rich, but I was perhaps the worst magician in the history of magic. I hated it. I found the “patter” to be most difficult (that’s magician talk – the stuff they say as they are building to the big magic finale). For me, it felt more like trying to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time.
Picture Thanksgiving with lots of family gathered around the table. Are they all really there or are some just giving the illusion of their presence? Perhaps they are texting under the table and aren’t really there at all. Truth or illusion – can you tell the difference?
Maybe you have anxiety about what to talk about with everyone. Work on your “patter.” Think of topics or things you want to share so you are more comfortable.
This holiday season, if you fear some illusionists may be seated at your table, be prepared with your own close-up magic of great food, and great friends and family. As the host or hostess, you can seat people next to those who may share common interests, making the table “patter” flow effortlessly.
Embrace the magic that is all around us and ABRACADABRA, you have pulled off the greatest magic trick of all – the perfect Thanksgiving dinner!