Magicians, as a whole, are prideful. We worry about our image, practice sleights to perfect them before presenting, write and rehearse patter, and of course comb our little remaining hair and clip or appropriately decorate our nails.
So our admission is hard to make. We are shaking at the keyboard as we type – likely attributable to the unsteady shocks in the Los Angeles Metro Bus – but still we’re shaking so that means something.
The person reading this post next to us on the bus – and that is very nosey and they should be looking forward and not correcting our prose – says we should just get to it and stop being so dramatic. Further, he says it doesn’t look like we remembered to take pains to improve our image before leaving for work today and why would a famous magician be riding a bus along Santa Monica Boulevard instead of traveling by limo or at least Uber?
We hope he gets off soon.
Okay, here’s the admission: we cannot do a perfect pressure fan. We can do all sorts of fans but not a proper pressure fan. There, it is out in the open now. You can judge us. Our fellow rider said if he knew what a “pressure fan” was he would judge us. He is laughing now. Probably at his own joke or maybe he is laughing at us.
We have been trying to do a proper pressure fan since we were twelve-years-old. We can do a one-handed shuffle with either hand and lifts that would impress anyone except they’re so good they can’t be detected. The fellow rider has stopped reading and is now eating Fritos very loudly.
We’ve read the technique, we’ve watched young children do perfect pressure fans with cards bigger than their cherubic faces. We fail.
He is now drinking something from what looks to be an adult sippy cup but because he hasn’t opened to top properly, it is making a thunk-pop noise with every suck of liquid. We wish he would go back to the Fritos but fear this will be a constant part of the ride for a while. He’ll eat the Fritos, loudly, get thirsty, drink from the sippy cup and then back to the Fritos.
At The Magic Castle we watch with envy as magicians perform their wonderfully practiced routines but become irrationally jealous, insecure and diminished when they perform a pressure fan with such a smooth handling that it appears the cards perfectly align about their fingers with ease. If only, we say silently, we had such skills.
We have thought of asking the more talented members at The Magic Castle, to teach us how to do a perfect pressure fan but we feel so much shame for not knowing at this point in our career. We feel we are an impostor, a fraud; in an art that relishes impostors and frauds — so there is that philosophical, logic puzzle to work through.
He is back reading and corrected our characterization of his chocolate milk container as a “sippy cup” and does not think it should be our concern about his eating and drinking habits.
Perhaps that is the key. Maybe we should not jealously covet the skills of other magicians, accept that we are at this time, unable to do a pressure fan and even though we haven’t for the last 90-years, we may one day develop the skill. Just as we should not be concerned about others’ drinking and eating routines, we should be focused on what we can do and not what others are doing.
Our fellow rider has pulled the stop cord and is gathering his full meal and drink to depart. He read the last part of this post and disagrees. “You shouldn’t care what other folks are eating and drinking but you should at least know how to do a pressure fan if you’re going to call yourself a magician.”
We are pierced.
Our seatmate has left the bus now and we have a vacant seat next to us. It is time to close the computer before we encounter another critic/editor for our long ride.