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One of life’s greatest joys is the human mind’s ability to conjure mental images that trigger other mental images.

I can speak only for humans. I don’t know if chimpanzees have the same ability. I’ve never tried being a chimpanzee. All I can do is assume that, with their type of brain, chimpanzees don’t have the ability.

Notice that I used the word conjure. The word is a jargon of the magic profession. Magicians usually use it to sound important and erudite. As a Filipino magician performing for family audiences, I use the word quite often. The reason? I have this frequent urge to sound important and erudite. It’s an urge I can’t resist.

What has all this to do with mental images?

Plenty. Imagine “hair and scissors.” What mental image do you see? A picture of two compatible things. Nothing jars the senses, unless the images of bald Britney Spears intrude.

Imagine something else, say, “scissors and tongue.” Now incomprehension paralyzes your brain. The image you see jolts you, and for good reason. “Scissors and tongue” is as incompatible as French kiss and Japanese sashimi.Photobucket

Well, maybe “scissors and tongue” is an Italian’s statement of dissatisfaction with French kissing. You see, according to a news report, a Milan teacher cut an unruly 7-year-old pupil’s tongue with scissors to silence him. No, there’s no mention of French kissing before the incident, so please don’t get ahead of the story.

The child needed five stitches, while the police needed to review their investigative techniques. As of the filing of the report, they were still trying to find out whether the tongue-cutting was intentional or a bad joke.


They should have consulted a Filipino magician like me. I would have told them in .00023455 milliseconds that five stitches are a bad joke. And my expert answer would have enlightened them promptly.

Cutting-the-magician’s tongue, though, is a good trick. If memory serves me right, I believe Penn and Teller did it once on national television. But please don’t try it at home, or at school, or to your brother or sister. The trick is good only on television.

Stay magical,




“French kiss.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007. Answers.com 02 Mar. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/french-kiss-4

“sashimi.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Answers.com 02 Mar. 2007. http://www.answers.com/topic/sashimi

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