Today is Magic Day, a day to celebrate the wonders and secret of magic. Christopher Milbourne said that “mystery is the basic appeal of magic…once the secrets are known, the magician becomes a mere manipulator.” Indeed, from the beginning of time mankind has been in awe of that which is unexplainable. But even as science and technology have narrowed the “unknown”, we have hung onto our fascination with “the impossible.” The artistry of a good trick gives a willing audience the “mystery” Mr. Milbourne described. It allows us to, like children, temporarily suspend our disbelief in the laws of science, and get swept up in something more mystical. Perhaps this is where the real magic happens.
Like so many other kids, I had a small magic kit when I was younger. I liked to play with all the little parts and pieces, but I don’t remember ever learning a single trick. I’ve never really had the necessary patience or drive to master most tricks and puzzles, but that hasn’t kept me from being amazed by the forethought that goes into creating them, and their ability to skew perception. Even as an adult, when I see a good magic trick I try not to get to caught up in the science behind it, choosing instead to be awed by the mystique.
But to truly celebrate Magic Day, Chris and I decided to shatter just a little of that mystique in order to learn a couple of simple card tricks. Being a very math-oriented person, I’ve always known that card tricks relied not only on a magician’s slight-of-hand, but also on their aptitude with numbers and counting — and the tricks Chris and I learned today supported this hypothesis. We both stumbled through two tricks this evening (the kind where, after a little hoopla, you pinpoint the card a spectator had chosen when you weren’t looking), and both relied heavily on counting and distraction. Shockingly, we both completed our tricks successfully, and were able to teach them to each other. After we had finished our venture into the land of abracadabra, I was a little surprised to realize that these were the first magic tricks I’ve ever learned. Or at least the first I remember learning. I guess that’s part of the “magic” of getting older — at times we forget some of the little things that took place to get us to the moment where we are today.
We are happy to report that no bunnies (or top hats) were harmed in the making of our celebration. In a few minutes we’ll be putting the cards away, along with the rest of our fun and games. Tomorrow we head back to work — in the office and at home. It’s Weed Your Garden Day.