Once upon a time, a friend of mine took a course in magic tricks, and she liked to practice on me. Magic, it transpires, is an extremely visual art, and the practice sessions could get a little interesting–for instance:
Friend: Pick a card, any card. (Little Blind Girl picks a card.) Don’t show me what it is. Turn it over. Now put it back in the deck. (LBG puts card back in deck, friend shuffles enthusiastically.) Now! (Friend turns over top card on deck) Is this your card?
Little Blind Girl: I don’t know. Is it?
Friend: (stares at card, then at LBG.) I have no idea. Didn’t you look when you turned it over?
Friend: So what did you see?
LBG: A blurry white piece of paper.
Friend: (pause) OK. Um. Next on the list is…never mind.
Friend: Three card monte.
LBG: Huh. Yeah, talk about guessing blind.
Friend: You know, when I make jokes like that, you hit me.
LBG: I’m spirited.
Friend: You’re a nutcase.
LBG: What’s next?
Friend: Let’s see. (consults lesson) I’m going to make a card vanish. I’m taking a card from the deck, no particular card, nothing special about it. I’ll put it here on this table in front of me, pass my hands over without touching the card, and over again–and it’s gone!
LBG: Gone from where?
Friend: The table!
LBG: Is it?
Friend: You know, you take all the fun out of misdirection.
I’m pretty sure I was not the reason my friend gave up on her dreams of a career in magic. I think she’s an accountant now. So, you know, making good use of the lessons in misdirection after all. Still, I’ll always be curious about what would have happened if we had gotten to the trick about sawing a lady in half. I really think I would have noticed that one.