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PhotobucketEvery so often, hubris more than common sense fills a magician. He finds himself moved to perform half-baked routines or inspired to show an under-rehearsed act to an audience who nags him for a trick.

The bright side of this anomaly—if it has a bright side at all— is that being ill-prepared is not the worst thing that can happen in a magic performance. Admitting to one’s ill-preparedness is.

PhotobucketIf you join a local chapter of Toasmasters International, one of the basic lessons the senior members will probably drill you in is the lesson of never apologizing to an audience for your lack of preparation.

This is a good lesson that magicians can take to heart. Don’t say, “Sorry, folks, I just received this trick in the mail, and I have not yet studied it well.” Or, “I’m running a slight fever. If you see some flashes, it’s because I’m not in top form today.” Or, “I still have not yet perfected this trick, so please forgive me if I mess up.”

Don’t say those, or I’ll stick needles on the voodoo doll I prepared for you.

It’s bad enough not to practice a trick to perfection. It’s badder to have the nerve to perform it before an audience. It’s baddest to preface your performance with an apology and to confess to your crime of incompetence before you commit it.

For that is what it is. It is a crime to perform a half-baked trick. Or even a 3/4-baked trick.

If you have the cockiness to perform a trick you have not mastered, you must have the courage not to tell the audience in advance that you are about to fail, and that they are about to watch a lousy show.

Maybe by miracle, or by magic, you will be able to wing it to the end of the performance without fumbling. Or maybe your lucky stars line up in heaven and give you an audience who are color blind, shortsighted, attention deficient, or plain apathetic of your performance. As  a result, nobody notices your bumbling, bungling, fumbling performance.

But don’t count on it.

Boldness is good if you want to show off mastery. It is bad if all it does is showcase ineptitude.

PhotobucketSee? Today I’m a philosopher.

I didn’t know that. I myself am amazed of myself.

I ought to write a book one of these days.

Stay magical,



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