Magic can take the form of many things: the Magic of love, of life, of music. Magic can also be that which science has yet to define in terms we can all understand. It wasn't that long ago in human history that creating fire from burning wood held mankind entralled.
As a teenager, I had worked with elderly people. I remember one such gentleman, who wanted to talk and I to listen. So I quietly sat there, while the gentleman proceeded to discribe his first encounter with a magic box.
A long time ago, when he was just a lad, he was walking home down the street he always did after school. He passed the same buildings and people as he did any other school day. He started to pass the same old bar on his hike home, when he noticed something different and stopped to see what it was. People were crowded around the bar, talking and pointing at something. There was a box sitting at the end of the bar where people were pointing. Curious, the little boy went inside to see what the commotion was all about. As the adults noticed the young lad, they moved aside to make room for him to get a better look at the box.
The box sitting on the floor was just a little shorter than he was, but at least as wide. There was a tiny window in the side facing him. The box itself was unremarkable. It was what was in the window that held everyone's attention. There were moving pictures inside the little window and sound coming from somewhere inside. It looked a lot like the moving pictures he had seen on the big screen. Movies, talkies, in a small wooden box! Someone had to explain to him. It was a television set.
Previously, entertainment was either live, filmed as a movie or broadcast over the radio. This was radio with pictures. He ran home to tell everyone about the magic box that he has first seen in a bar. Many didn't believe him (as he couldn't explain it properly) or just nodded knowingly at his excitement. Just how do you explain the concept of television to people who had never seen or heard of it before?
While reading this story, when did you realize I was discribing the Television set: a modern luxury that was just being born less than 100 years ago? It's all perspective and physcology. Modern day people take magic for granted these days. Recently, a co-worker and I were discussing a magician. David Blaine has just been put in the ground in a clear box, 6 feet underground with a water tank between the coffin and the surface of the ground. He stayed down there for 6 days with a limited amound of air and water.
The discussion revolved around whether it was a magic trick or a test of endurance. My co-worker thought it was a trick, that it was an illusion and Blaine cheated. He was either eating when someone wasn't looking, had an extra air supply and water, etc. I told him it doesn't matter. My stand is this: ither way, depending on what Blaines goals were, he did it. If it was a test of endurance and he played it staight as it seems, he did it. If it was a magic trick to fool people, WHO WERE LOOKING AND WAVING TO HIM UNDER THE WATER TANK, then he did that too. Does it really matter either way? All that matters that he did it and is probably happy with himself for achieving his goal.
I saw a tape once of a show Harry Anderson did as his Harry the Hat character. He opens with telling the audience that he is there to lie, cheat and entertain them. Many stage magicians, close-up and walk-around artists (myself included) are just that: lyers and cheats. God forbid you should meet the darker side: the Stealers. Most magic performers, who bill them as such, are just that: PERFORMERS. They exist and perform for the enjoyment of the art and to pass a little time where they amaze, entertain and surprise their audience. Basiclly when someone announces publicly they are magicians, they are saying that they are out to lie and cheat you and mess with your mind, in a manner that will entertain. That's what we do.
I have two identities or personas that I work with to perform magic. Eldarin the Enchanter is Merlin's bumbling apprentice. He is trying to master the four elements: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. To represent Air, he uses levitaion. Coins manipulation equates to Earth, while casting fireballs and lighting torches are pretty self explainitory. The ever full water vase and disappearing water round out the elements. Sam Slick is the more notorious of the two. Dressed in a gold and black lamay vest, Slick is a card shark and coin manipulator. Both characters are mostly close-up and walk-around personas.
In this venture into the magical realms, I have to thank Mark, the Magic Man, Chuckles the Clown, and Uncle Joe. These men have given me advice as I walk down this path I have chosen. Or maybe I should secretly curse them as my life is now a constant one of always trying to improve a trick and search for new ones around every corner. (just joking guys)
It's not a life for everyone either. My wife, bless her soul for putting up with me, loves to be amazed. But early on, I realized I was slowly taking away something I could never put back. I would use her as a sounding board for new tricks. She would sit and watch me perform for her. Unfortunatly if I did the same trick too many times, never mind the number of variations, she could eventually see how it could have been done. Let's forget that she could be, and sometimes was, wrong. In her mind, she KNEW what I had done. Whether she was right or wrong, she thought she knew how it was done and I was lying when I told her the solution was wrong. (Remember: Magicians keep secrets and tell lies) Each time, I was taking away a small amount of amazement and thrill that magic can lend. In the end, she really doesn't want to know. It's true sometimes that "Ignorance is Bliss".
Do I believe in REAL magic? History has many accounts of druids (Stonehenge), mystical locations (Egypt's pyraminds or Easter Isle) tales and stories (Merlin, your local haunted house) and so on. Some call it voodoo, some ESP and yet others science. Modern science is just a baby yet. To me, computers are magic. Imagine a time in the 1980's (remember that IBM had just released their first home computers in the early 80's), if someone came up to you and told you that mail could be delivered to your home in seconds from anywhere in the world. Assuming you were born then, would you believe it?