Our field is magic not medicine or community health.
That being said, we were asked by a volunteer whether she could get germs from the playing cards we were using to perform what all agreed was an incredible performance of the seven column trick last exhibited by everyone’s uncle at a family gathering.
Our response was one of shock. First we don’t believe in the germ theory generally. We’ve never seen a germ without use of a microscope and even then, we couldn’t be sure if it was a germ or something round with little hairs stuck to the lens.
If we assumed that everything that was round with little hairs was a germ, we would never speak with two members of our immediate family. (We don’t anyway but this would be an added reason).
Secondly, we had never been asked such an impertinent question. We began our miracle by removing a deck from a sealed pack. The only thing that add germs to the pasteboards would be our hands and since we always perform with non-latex surgical gloves, it seemed unlikely that germs could have taken up residence on the cards.
But we did some research on the subject and even sent a note to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. They haven’t responded yet but when they do, we’ll update this article to make it more click-baity — even though we don’t have advertisements on the site.
We found many resources on the web that seems to confirm that playing cards — like all paper — can be a home for germs.
We didn’t want that answer.
We wanted to find information that supported our conclusion that we were right and the volunteer was out of line to even question our sanitary approach to magic. We drink hand sanitizer but that is only when we run out of cough medicine and only to silence the voices.
But, try as we might (and did), we found nary a single article supporting our theory. It even knocked down our theory that paper cannot be anything but sterile. Why else would Irish Fish-and-Chips sellers put their delicious meals in newspaper? Why would ice cream cones have a paper wrapper around their base? Why would our submarine sandwiches be delivered in paper clearly touched and folded by human hands?
It turns out, paper is a possible home for germs but not a great home. Our cards have a fine coating that we hope resists germs looking for a new abode. We don’t know what germs like and perhaps plastic coating seems too “plastic” and artificial for them. Maybe they would rather reside where the high class microbes live on things like raw chicken, out-dated cheese, or our eyebrows. (The last location is bushy and unruly — ironically the name of our old partner act when we were on the dance hall circuit. We were “Bushy” and our fellow performer was “Unruly.” We cut-up with jokes about eyebrows and messed up hair generally.)
If you would like to do your own investigation into the question you can check out the following links. But, if you choose to live in a blissful sense of ignorance, you can ignore the links, use new decks for each performance, wash your hands before every show, never put a card in your mouth for any reason — even a magical one, never lick a card to attach to your forehead, and certainly never cough or sneeze directly onto a card you want your spectator to select. If you are not going to do a force, you probably should avoid coughing or sneezing on the deck itself. If you are doing fans and productions, without a spectator’s selection, sneeze away. It is rumored that some of the great card manipulators would sneeze directly on their decks before performing to give an extra “grip” to the deck. That is a rumor we just started for the purposes of this post.
We can’t and wouldn’t anyway, vouch for any of these publications or their content. They are all links outside of InsideMagic.com so you should click at your own risk.
We do believe in internet viruses and so be careful where you go as you search for information on the passing of viruses and germs.