“Go practice you magic,” I nag Little Bro.
I nag daily. As I nag him to keep track of his tricks. He’s lost cards to his magic deck; the fuzzy balls to his disappearing-balls-under-cups trick; my own spare change, quarters he can make disappear or bend like rubber.
I found his magic thumb under his bed:
I waved the nasty plastic finger thing in his face. “The dog could choke on this!”
And it was the dog who actually found his magic wand – the perfect bone.
Just like his piano lessons, the magic lessons are a financial investment – ones I hadn’t anticipated, until I treated him to one lesson after much nagging on his part.
“This kid has real talent,” His magic teacher told me, as they emerged from their secret lesson from behind the secret door of the magic store:
Sure, I can be gullible. But not with hard sells, as when two sale reps relied on a powerpoint slide show to brainwash me into investing bucks to snake invisible wire all around our property to shock the dog.
That was a hard sell. This wasn’t; Mr. Magic Man seemed genuinely interested in Little Bro, especially as he’d begun apologetically with not having time for regular lessons, as it was nearing Halloween:
While selling magic paraphernalia and booking magic shows, he also sells costumes. Very few of Winnie the Pooh:
I worried his mannequins might actual feed my son’s already voracious fear of aliens:
But Mr. Magic Man claimed rarely ever being able to teach a seven year old three tricks in one half-hour lesson. “He gets the technical,” he said, in some kind of magic language.
And this magic man did not appear as I’d expected a magic man would – someone akin to a circus figure or motorcycle rider, tattoo-adorned, with purple-painted nails.
Mr. Magic Man wore a plain button-down shirt. An actual face, non-digital watch. He could have stepped out of an ordinary office cubicle rather than from behind a secret door of fake books.
His daughters are AP track in high school, and I wondered what they say when people ask what their father does. Or is: “He’s a magic man.”
So Mr. Magic Man vowed to make time for Little Bro, and when he couldn’t, he had an excellent magical assistant: “The kid’s brilliant.” He leaned into me as if this were a secret: “Really. The kid is a walking encyclopedia. He was accepted into Harvard medical school and turned it down. He could be a surgeon. He should be a surgeon but he wants to be a magician and work in a pet store for god’s sake.” Then he laughed. “His parents hate me.”
And I saw it. Ten years down the road. Little Bro turning down acceptance to Harvard medical school in favor of being a magician. Working in a magic and costume store with blue alien-like mannequins and a creepy monster handing out poisoned candy at the door. And possibly even working in a pet store, as he does love gerbils…I saw it all. I saw him sitting across the kitchen table from his father, breaking this news….
Actually I didn’t see it. Little Bro is ok at science, especially mixing olive oil and toothpaste in test tubes, but no whiz, and a bit too dreamy. Forgetful. He would be the surgeon who left forceps in a patient’s abdomen.
And even if I had been able to see it, I cannot dismiss a child’s passion when he’s not into the more common passions of soccer or football. I cannot dismiss a financial investment which may not be Harvard-track, but is perhaps on track to self-confidence and high self-esteem. Even Daddy, who is already scraping and saving for Harvard, would agree with that.
So we invest in magic as we do in music lessons. And because, as with the piano, he would like to get it right the first time around, practice can mean frustration, and therefore nagging. But when he does get it right, Daddy and I revel as much as he does, in making coins disappear, or a missing card reappear in my purse or Daddy’s computer bag. We revel in watching our son work the magic of not only turning a trick, but in perhaps knowing his own mind best.