In our discussion of Penn & Teller’s new UK television series Fool Us! earlier this week, we mentioned that Inside Magic favorite Shawn Farquhar thoroughly stumped the duo. We offered the incident to show how gracious and excited Penn & Teller were to be fooled.
We provided a YouTube link to Mr. Farquhar’s segment to prove the alleged “Bad Boys of Magic” are no different from any of us. They love magic and love to be fooled.
There were three contestants in this year’s International Brotherhood of Magicians Stage Competition who fooled us badly. It was a wonderful feeling. Our peanut size and shaped brain instantly switched from “figure it out” mode to “enjoy it” mode. Once we gave into the reality that the unreal was happening, we felt the same exhilaration experienced at the start of our 43 years in magic.
Back then it was a red plastic ball that appeared and disappeared from an interesting-looking royal blue plastic vase. We had no clue how it could be done and, as we say at the special meetings we are required to attend, “it’s okay.”
The sesame seed sized portion of our peanut-esque brain responsible for accepting or rejecting visual images based on their conformity some established measure of reality was delighted to take a break and let the impossible flow unhindered into our active consciousness. The effect is similar to shoving a peanut butter sandwich into a DVD player.
In our experience, most magicians want to be fooled.
They also want to learn secrets or hypothesize methods but that process comes later. Similar to falling in love at first sight, the experience of being mystified is precious, unique and always unanticipated. Love may fade immediately after the first sight and the baffled magician may wonder how he or she could have been fooled once the trick’s secret is known.
Most magicians chase the prospect of being truly amazed. There may be years between those epiphanies but that’s enough to keep us in the hunt.
We love to play golf but do not play well. We lose five or six balls each round and spiral into self-defeating feedback loops with each errant shot. Still the game has got us hooked. One reason is the phenomenon of the “one good shot.” Out of our typical 110 strokes per round, only one or two swings will feel good, sound right and travel to our selected target. But apparently that is enough. We practice and visualize in pursuit of experiencing another “good shot.”
Watch Mr. Farquhar’s presentation without questioning whether it is possible and you may find that same elusive sense of awe that first got you hooked on magic. Friends and colleagues ask us if we know how the trick is done and we say with some satisfaction that we have no clue.
View Mr. Farquhar’s true magic here: http://bit.ly/imfarquhar
Visit Mr. Farquhar’s web site here: http://magichampion.com/