A Moving Story About A Magician.
We just completed our third move in two years! It was Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Austin and along the way we condensed down the contents from two large houses, four double garages and five separate storage lockers. It was a mammoth undertaking and I am happy to say that we are now delightfully settled in our modestly sized, but beautiful new home.
What amazed me as this took place was the incredible amount of magic that I have accumulated over the years; box after box, trunk after trunk and case after case. Thank God I got rid of my illusion show a few years ago or the nightmare might still be going on; I just kept a couple of my favorite illusions pretty much for sentimental reasons.
What really gave me pause for thought was why I had this many magic props and tricks in my possession in the first place. I go out to earn my living with a pilot’s case that contains 37 tricks—enough for three 50-minute shows. I think I had it all pretty much figured out after that third move. I suspect it is the same for 95% of magicians, this business turns us into accumulators, packrats and hoarders of the most extreme kind.
Even the humblest, and least used, of my replaceable items has got more back-ups than I would need if I performed until I was two hundred years old. Let me give you an example, maybe twenty times a year I perform my Coin In Bottle/Vanishing Bottle routine. It is a great trick and used at the correct time and location is truly a killer piece of magic. It takes up no space in my working case and gets a huge reaction. So far so good……
‘The other side of the folding coin’ is when I look at the enormous amount of storage this trick takes up outside of my working case! I must have found 30 or 40 folding coins of various denominations and nationalities, including folding ‘half-crowns’ which haven’t been in circulation since the sixties. There was also a large box filled with slivers of folding coin segments, and rubber bands that are so old they dissolve if you speak harshly to them.
This routine (available on my ‘Yellow Lecture Notes for $30 at my online store—moving is expensive so I will put in a fast promotional plug!) also uses a brown sandwich sack. I found 12 packages of 200 bags among my magic supplies. There were also about 150 glass Coca Cola bottles and 10 Norm Nielsen rubber Coca Cola bottles. Yikes.
In fact they should just subtract a monthly percentage from my salary and send it directly to Norm and Lupe; I buy at least one rubber dove from them every year and have done so since he started manufacturing them. I have never, ever thrown one away—just in case! Some of the older doves have crumpled and distorted into such strange mutations of their original pristine and snowy white condition that they look like they have flown directly from Dr. Moreau’s Island.
I still have the suitcase containing the kid’s show I used to perform in the sixties at age 11. I opened the case and was genuinely alarmed at what I saw and the condition it was in. I kept it anyhow—hey I will probably have grand kids soon, of course the damage to their innocent little psyches if they saw the condition of my ‘Run Rabbit Run’ could emotionally stunt them for life. One unguarded look at my Egg Bag that changes into a chicken has stopped me from ingesting either eggs or chicken ever since. It was truly alarming.
I don’t know what it is about magic props but I just can’t part with them (actually the damn illusions were easy to dump—I never liked them much to begin with,) however the absurd emotional attachment I have over the scores of wallets I unearthed defies any kind of rational logic. The incomplete decks of cards I saved, because ‘they might be needed for ‘6 Card Repeats’ would stretch from Vegas to Austin—sideways!
Am I crazy or just your average magician? Does the I.B.M. sponsor a 12 step program to prevent us all from ending up with a living space as cluttered as McComb? I don’t think so, but I don’t know; what I do know is that I am never, ever going to move again. This process brought me face to face with the obsessive side of magic that I prefer to pretend does not exist!
That is my story and you are stuck with it! (Yes, I found a few Robert Orben books too.)
My blog is at www.remarkablemagic.com
My web site/online store is www.nicklewin.com
My garage is in S.W. Austin—bring a big box and come and help yourself!