Cruel Serendipity

“Please tell me how you did that.”

I hear this more than any other audience utterance. I suspect more and more, as my career in this wonderful craft continues, that people want to believe that, at least at some level, what I’m doing is real. Real magic, supernatural power. They long to have faith in something greater than themselves. This is one more reason not to tell them: exposure of the work would only spoil the fantasy. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I’ve had people believe so strongly that they attribute my skill to being ‘in league with Lucifer’. Yes, in 2016. Some demon at my command … finding lost cards.

I am convinced that most magicians, the ‘buy the latest fad’ group, especially, are looking for real magic also. The one trick that will solidify their reputation and shoot their career into the ‘big time’. The big secret is … it doesn’t exist. There’s not an effect or a routine that will create real magic.

But real magic DOES exist.

It happens in the feeling, love and hope you leave with someone. If you are an entertainer, you are giving relief to the weary world, some of whom may just be barely getting by, longing for love and hope … and here you are, with your gift.

Sometimes, the situation is more dire.
I was busking in uptown Charlotte on a recent Saturday night. There was a game happening at the arena and several good sized events, so the crowds were happy and large. I was feeling great. About 10PM a woman came up the sidewalk with three children in tow. The oldest of these was about seven. The woman was very clearly under the influence of something. She hustled the kids up to my table and told them to watch my show, then sat down on the sidewalk and promptly went to sleep.
I couldn’t wake her. Security couldn’t wake her. Meanwhile, all I can think to do is entertain the children, keep them distracted. An ambulance came, and mom got help … I pulled cards and coins out of little ears and didn’t panic. The kids went with the police, mom went with the ambulance.

I stood there with a broken heart and cursed the universe. I cried and felt sorry.

Later I realized the truth and the magic of this. I was there at just the right time. I had a specific set of skills that helped those children deal with a horrific situation. I was precisely where I was supposed to be at just the right time. I could ‘what if’ for hours, but because I was there, I made a difference. Did I save a life? Did I save four lives? I don’t know – what is important is: I was there and I gave love, hope and a measure of peace where there was none. That’s real magic. That’s stone into bread.

You have within you the seeds of hope and love. Have them ready, be generous with them. Fly your flag and use your gifts.

Make Magic Happen.

1 Comment

Filed under Musings, Public Diary, Uncategorized

One response to “Cruel Serendipity

  1. Seattle – Belltown – 4th of July 2003 I was at a roof top fireworks event. It ended, we all piled in an elevator to head down for cocktails. the elevator doors closed, descended 1.5 floors, then shrugged, dropped two feet suddenly and stopped. Unresponsive electronics, and no cell reception, we used the emergency phone and were told they didn’t know when they could get us due to the holiday and traffic. Everyone (11 people) got very quiet and looked around the tiny box slowly, quietly noting how warm and stuffy it was getting… each with the unspoken question of who was going to be the first of us to freak out.
    My dear friend & mentor Tom Frank, a life long performer didn’t miss a beat. he whipped a deck of cards & some coins and went to work. He did everything from ambitious card to 3Fly… he twisted aces and may have even read a mind or two. The real magic though was that he transported 11 people from the strange and foreign fear of being trapped in a hot stuffy elevator to the familiar feeling of willingly being in a tight crowd watching a show. For 45 minutes the walls of the elevator became irrelevant, we crowded each other willingly and were transported by magic. I think a couple of people were actually disappointed when the elevator finally started moving.

    You didn’t just keep those kids out of traffic and safe, you shaded their memory of a traumatic event with positivity; and as they grow up, though they will certainly remember that their mother had problems, they will also remember the kindness of a street magician turned urban shaman who helped to keep them safe and make sense of a senseless situation. Magic does exist… Ive seen it, and you have wielded it. nice work Hannibal!

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