Fifteen year-old Nick Brice had an exceptional view of the overflow crowd gathered beneath him on the hot asphalt parking lot of the Swift Current Mall.
The excited, curious, and skeptical over-flow audience had an equally fine vantage point to watch the young man struggle with the canvas straight jacket as he swayed and writhed in the 10 mile-per-hour winds dangling some 40 feet above last Saturday.
No straight jacket escape is automatic or easy.
But Nick Brice was not looking for “easy” when he agreed to perform the dangerous stunt.
If he wanted to be safe, or to perform an “easy” escape, he would have stayed planted on terra firma (likely indoors), donned a heavily gimmicked, unexamined straight jacket, and conducted his escape behind an opaque curtain.
Perhaps it is a tribute to his youthful energy and enthusiasm that he was able to fend off fatigue and vertigo to slowly and painfully work his way free of the weighty garment before he would have certainly collapsed from heat exhaustion and his inverted position.
Like many of us, Mr. Brice was inspired by Houdini – someone who never took the “easy” route.
“Probably the most famous magician, Harry Houdini, is the one that really inspires me. He was the first one to do this one at the turn of the 20 century. He was my inspiration to do the straight jacket escape,” Master Brice told reporters.
His usual performance venues are more stable, less dangerous.
“I have done a couple at the library. Actually I normally do it at schools. I am always entertaining the other kids at high school.”
How does he intend to top his latest public exhibition next year?
There are very few in our society who receive and devour magazines and catalogs featuring the very latest in leather tethers, handcuffs, stocks, chains, and leg irons without making it on some government list.
Magicians and legitimate law enforcement are about the only folks who have an excuse for this interest.
We don’t pass judgment on the others who receive such reading material on a monthly basis; but are also careful to avoid passing their house at night or upsetting them in any way.
What do you say about someone who is insane? One can be solicitious. One can grin nicely and say, “well, he is just adventurous,” or “it must be a magic trick — after all, he is a magician.”
But those words fail. They neither diagnose nor treat.
True, Dean Gunnarson is a magician who does magic and performs magic effects.
But the methods of producing a rabbit from a hat or making silks change color do not help one attempting to escape from a straight jacket whilst hanging by one’s toes from a trapeze bar 726 feet over Hoover Dam.