Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Be a Bad-Ass Magician, Part One*

So, you want to be a bad-ass magician (or “illusionist” as the kewl kids like to say) but you don’t have a 10-year contract on the Vegas strip or a cold, steely stare that seems to pierce the souls of ordinary men and expose their deepest, darkest secrets to the harsh light of day? Well, fret not! I’m here to show you how you can easily bemuse and baffle your friends and family, all without having to get rip-roaring drunk and then falling into your cousin’s swimming pool, which seems to be the approach you favor most when it comes to bemusing and baffling people.

Let’s get started immediately on some amazing tricks you can do right at home or in the workplace!

Our first astounding illusion is the ever-amazing and oh-so-popular “Elevator Summoning Trick!” What’s that you say, you never heard of it? Well, we can’t just jump right to making Mount Rushmore disappear, ya know. That’s advanced stuff. Gonna be at least a week or so before we get to that level. We gotta start with SOMETHING a little less mystifying.

Anyway, the way THIS trick works is quite simple. But first, let me describe the illusion: While standing in an elevator lobby packed with innocent bystanders (soon to be your unwitting and unwilling audience), you will appear to make one of many elevator doors fly open by sheer will alone. You know, because you’re so bad-ass and a magician and stuff. Then, while the crowd stands there gasping and select members of the opposite sex doff their clothes with lightning-fast urgency (don’t forget, bad-ass and all that), you will stride unfazed into the open elevator, turn and cross your arms swami-style, and then proceed to be whisked away to your sanctum sanctorum in the sky. Or your boring desk job, whatever the case may be.

So how is this confounding bit of astonishing mysticism accomplished?


The secret to the stunning “Elevator Summoning Trick” is simple law of averages. Stand in front of enough elevators long enough and you’re bound to be right once in a while. Heck, even monkeys could type out the Complete Works of William Shakespeare if they had enough time, and most magicians are at LEAST as smart as the average monkey.

So, while the crowd is still waiting for the little elevator lights, all you have to do is pick an elevator… any elevator… and go into your shtick. But you want to be believable, so really lay it on thick… start grunting, groaning and hyperventilating like you’re literally giving birth to the Buddha child out your tukus. Augment the “summoning” effect by motioning toward the elevator doors with both arms outstretched and facing upward. Also, be sure to scream like a possessed banshee; you want it to seem like every muscle and sinew is literally being rent right from the bone. Come on! You want to be a magician don’t you? Half the effect lies in the theatrics.

Now, whenever the correct elevator door flies open you get to stand there all high-and-mighty like you knew it all along, and yeah, Criss Angel can eat your shorts and all that good stuff. It might also help the overall effect if you pipe in some Korn-like music to blare through the lobby at the precise moment the doors open and maybe run up and put your mouth on the elevator’s dirty security-cam for good measure. YES! Now you are a magician.

Oh, right. What do we do about the other seven or eight times when the elevator that you’re “summoning” DOESN’T fly open? Ok, well, this is where it gets a little tricky, so to speak. The long and short of it is you’re going to have to kill anyone and everyone who witnesses an unsuccessful attempt. That way, no one can go blabbing your “magician’s secret” and ruin all the fun for the next potential audience.

Consequently, you’ll need to keep a small concealed weapon like a revolver or a long blade on you at all times (magicians should know how to keep things up their sleeves anyway), and wait until you guess the wrong door to pull it out. Fortunately, that will only be about 80 to 90 percent of the time, if you get really good at guessing. As the incorrect doors slide open somewhere behind you, slowly turn to the by-now-mesmerized crowd, give them a big, toothy, sh*t-eating grin and bellow, “SURPRISE!!!!!” at the top of your lungs before dispatching every last one of them quickly and efficiently.

Be sure not to leave any DNA, then wash up silently and throw all the heavy duty trash bags in a nearby dumpster. Sadly, these are much less honorable times we live in, and you can’t trust most people to not blow a good magic trick by posting it on YouTube or something. Trust me, it’s better this way. Best of all, after you’ve made short work of each “failed audience” you’ll be ready for yet another (hopefully) more successful performance!!!

And there you have it: the secret to the amazing “Elevator Summoning Trick” revealed. I know, I know, it seems too simple to be true, but that’s all there is to it!

What’s that? You’re gonna wuss out on me NOW? Show a little dedication to your craft, buddy…

* A tip of the magician’s hat to Al Jaffee for additional inspiration on this one.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Keep off the Void

Sometimes when I’m out and about in public places (like parks) I’ll see large, abstract, modern sculptures that seem ideal for people like me to climb on and take pictures by. Naturally, I do so every chance I get, laughing and giggling and having the time of my life while engaging in such tomfoolery.

That’s when I like to imagine the artist as a tortured soul who was desperately trying to represent the existential emptiness that is mankind’s existence, spiraling ever downward into an icy, unforgiving abyss. I also envision the artist visiting the park to show his peers the culmination of 8 years of sweat, toil, and careful aesthetic deliberation only to find an uncultured boob like me using “Pain: A Study in Marble” as my own personal jungle gym. He then chases me from the park as I shriek like a giddy schoolgirl the whole way home.

The last laugh’s probably on me though, because I think it’s more likely the artist was simply trying to create an abstract representation of coitus, and I’ve been unknowingly pressing my face against a large man’s marble ass cheek the whole time.