Birthday Magic

Birthday Magic

By Mark Aldrich
“I did not want to learn how to perform the tricks; I wanted to perform magic. With a capital M. I wanted to be astonished, too.”

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I wanted the ultimate magic kit when I was a kid for my birthday, which arrives like a tedious habit each November 18, but as with so many things in life, disappointment lay in the fact that the magic kits grew more complex, more “magical,” only with higher prices.

Each kit included a “magic wand,” which was just a wooden dowel painted black, or, in the more expensive kits, painted black with a white tip, because a white tip on a black stick is the same thing as classy. The photo of the kid on the magic box with the white tipped wand often showed the kid in tails and with a top hat. I am sure that because of kids like me—or because of a kid named me—the toy companies needed to add the disclaimer to the box that read, “Hat and tails not in package.”

In all of the kits, from simple to pricey, the tricks were easy to follow, both for the performer and, unfortunately, for his audience. Most of the tricks in magic kits are the basic shell game and some variations of them—balls and cups—or they include a set of pre-marked cards or a dummy set of all aces or all jokers. I was always all disappointed.
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