The Magic Castle, Two Drunk Irishman, and a Dozen Decks of Cards
Without a doubt, one of my favorite places to perform sleight of hand is at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA. It is such an honor and humbling experience to exercise my craft for the crowd, and fellow magicians, who come out each night.
One of the fun parts of being on stage at the Castle is that I get to perform at least four shows a night for an entire week, plus I often have the privilege of doing a couple of bonus slots, too. It is an exhausting week, as my show takes hours to prep (times four!) and the two hour commute each way gets a little wearisome after the first few days. But trust me when I tell you, a week at the Castle is never dull!
My friend Joe came out one week, basically to be my designated driver so that Kim would feel better about me driving back and forth each night. Joe’s “job” was to help me prep for shows, and then drive me home in the middle of the night after my last show (I often don’t leave the castle until well-after 1am).
Joe and I had left my house a little earlier-than-usual that day and had set up shop at a nearby Dave and Buster’s to eat dinner and prep the show. We had a dozen decks of cards and various props laid out on our table when two irishmen, from a couple tables over, took notice.
Both of these gentleman had already consumed a considerable amount of liquid courage so they came over to our table and asked about the decor. This is when I made a significant mistake: I told them who I was and that I was a magician. In hindsight, I should have told them I worked for the California Gambling Commission and I was inspecting cards from a local casino.
Immediately, one of them that we’ll call “Larry,” grabbed a deck. “Danny Boy,” he said, “I’m gonna show you a trick you’ve probably never seen before!” (From this point on, the story is significantly more fun if you read any of “Bob” or “Larry’s” words with a thick Irish accent!) He proceeded to show me a trick that is usually reserved for junior high students who are so excited to show me a trick their dad taught them.
“That’s great,” I said, as I tried to get back to prepping for my show. Then Bob spoke up. “So Danny Boy, you got any tricks better than my friend Larry’s?” I looked at Joe and he was subtly shaking his head. I think his eyes were pleading, “Don’t do it Danny, this will open up a can of worms involving drunk Irishman, cards, and probably the police before it’s all said and done!” Naturally, I ignored his pleading.
I performed several of my favorite closeup tricks and each one came with a boisterous response from Bob and Larry. They both nearly fell out of their seats on several occasions, and Larry continued to grab each deck and inspect them after each trick. The drink continued to flow for them as the “show” moved along, and soon they had their arms around me like we were childhood friends enjoying a good drink at a local Irish pub.
Despite our multiple refusals, Bob and Larry threatened our teenage waiter with sufficient bodily harm if he didn’t hand our ticket over to their table. And despite our refusals to drink with them, they had a couple of beers sent to our table as well. I’ve seen Magic Castle magicians try to perform with a little alcohol in them…it’s never a good thing! So they picked up our tab, and ultimately drank our untouched beers. They also offered us a place to stay a few blocks away, and said we could party with them and their lady friends. This, we also graciously refused.
Several times Joe and I tried to inform them that we had a few shows to prep, but subtlety was lost on our new friends. Eventually we had to just pack up and head backstage at the Castle to finish up the final details of the evening’s performances. As we finally walked away from the table, Bob told me, “Danny Boy, you’re the best &$*@&# magician I’ve ever seen. And Joe…you’re a patsy!” (Bob, Larry, and Joe got along great, but when they found out he wasn’t a magician, he just didn’t rank. Ha!)
Thankfully no police were involved, and I did invite Bob and Larry (anyone else trying to picture a tomato and cucumber here?) to my shows that night, though neither made an appearance. The final show prep took place in one of the very cramped quiet corners of the Magic Castle and everything came off without a hitch.
Magic opens a lot of doors for me, and it also builds a lot of bridges. From teenagers sitting at a lunchroom table by themselves to incarcerated individuals in prison, and from sweet little old ladies at a Baptist church to drunk Irishman at a local restaurant, God has allowed me the privilege of creating special moments for people all over the world.
In fact, I think God has given each of us the ability to create special moments for others! In the Bible, there are over 30 different “one another” commands given to us in the New Testament (the back half of the Bible). Over 100 times the words one another are used, and each instance is to help us understand how to relate to each other more effectively.
These one another commands–not suggestions–run the gambit from Love One Another to Serve One Another to Forgive One Another to Pray for One Another to even include Carry One Another’s burdens. And here’s the thing, when we practice these one another commands we have the ability to create a little magic in someone else’s life: whether it’s a sweet little old lady in a Baptist church, or two drunk Irishman at Dave and Buster’s.
You don’t have to be a magician to bring a little “wow” into someone else’s life; you just have to be willing to meet them where they are, and use the gifts God has given you to serve. Whose life could you impact today?