As we type, Los Angeles is going through a humid spell. Some accounts have it as high as 70 percent or as low as 50 percent – but either of those extremes is extreme for the region.
Yes, it will mess with our fancy hair-do but it will also let us deal seconds without the need for moistening agents.
When we were very young, we found it amusing that the older magicians in our local IBM Ring had to lick their fingers before every difficult card move. Some had to lick their fingers before even dealing cards. We thought – basking in our youthful ignorance – “we’ll never be like that. We will always have moist fingers and palms. And even if we do eventually have dry hands, we’ll hire someone to lick our fingers.”
We had some issues back then – but lack of hand moisture was not one of them.
Once we hit mid-life, our ability to deal seconds fell off horribly. We could still do the mechanical part but we couldn’t control the number of cards in play.
We thought there should be some product available to magicians of “a certain age” to allow them to again perform as they did in their youth. Something so they would be “ready” when the “moment was right.”
We used those terms in our Google search but it resulted in products that had little to do with card manipulation or magic in its strictest sense.
We asked our magic friends – in strictest confidence, because of our shame – and hoped they would either have a solution or sympathy for our frustration. But we found no support among our peers. We suspect they were too embarrassed to admit their problem to us.
At an IBM convention, we met up with Mr. Second Deal, Simon Lovell. He wrote the book on the sleight — Second to None. We asked him how we could keep our fingers moist enough to do second deals – either double push-off or strike second deal. He felt our pain. He suggested we keep an iced drink nearby and touch it as needed. We thanked him and went forward to find a different solution.
We spoke with our physician and he expressed surprise. “Why, no one has ever asked me how to make their hands more sweaty.” As we recall the exchange, he sounded like the Wizard of Oz in the final scene when he provides a heart for The Tin Woodsman.