Daily Archives: April 3, 2013

Where Magic Is Born

Where does magic come from? Who thinks these things up, anyway? That’s so clever. Why didn’t I think of that? How often have you had some of these thoughts?

There are some people who have magical minds. I remember many years ago sitting in Steve Dusheck’s house in Pennyslvania, and he was showing Phil and I some of his latest inventions. How do you think of these things? I asked. His answer? I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning I have so many new ideas, I don’t know which to tackle first. 

We sell magic. We really don’t have time to sit around and think of things, look for materials, put them together, etc. It’s an achievement to come up with something that is good magic.

And yet, a magic trick was born a few weeks ago on my kitchen table. Not by me, not by Phil, but by my seven year old grandson, who was not even doing magic at the time, although he does do magic. He was working on an arts and craft project that involved nails. A particular type of nail. The problem was I had a box full of nails and screws and nuts and bolts all mixed together, even though the box had compartments. I did not want him to turn the box upside down on the table, so I told him to take out all the stuff one compartment at a time. The next problem was that he couldn’t get his fingers into the compartments to empty them. So I gave him a magnet. Mixed in with all the stuff were some black objects made of rubber that looked like short pieces of licorice sticks, about 3/4 ” long with a hole running down the center just like licorice. He emptied the compartments, one at a time, taking the black things out with his hands because the magnet wouldn’t pick them up, of course. And then a strange thing happened and I heard him say,

“But that’s impossible.”

“What’s impossible?” I asked.

“The magnet is picking up the rubber tube.”

And then he looked closer and saw the was a nail running through the hole in little black tube, and was hanging on to the end of it, with the head at the other end..  After fiddling around with it for a while he discovered that the magnet didn’t have to touch the nail at all, but would hold the nail though the rubber.  The he looked for a tiny nail to put right inside the rubber so it was completely hidden. Then he took a tube without a nail, and figured out a way to switch them. He then jumped off his chair and made a dash for the computer room, where Phil was busy working and I heard him shout, “Hey, Grampa, wanna see a magic trick?”

As I said, a magic trick was born on my kitchen table.

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