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Precision magic is a jargon I’d probably hear only in the inner sanctum of the corporate world. But unlike other jargons, I understood it right away the first time I heard it.
One reason for the instant epiphany could be that the term is a magic jargon. That must explain why my brain, soaked in a concoction of magical notions since eons ago, was able to grasp it in no-second flat.
Another reason is that I heard the term used by Paul Potassy. I never heard anyone else use it, which makes it a gem of a jargon. Coming from someone as renowned as Paul, it oozes with a lesson magicians aspiring to attain perfection can take to heart.
As I understand the term, precision magic is magic that is free from mistakes. It is insusceptible to accidents. It does not fall victim to bungles, bloopers and blunders. It’s execution is technically flawless, its presentation consummate, its artistry immaculate.
If you can perform a magic show like that, then it must be a real magic show, and you are a real magician, vested with real magic powers.
But since we are only pretend magicians, no one can do that. Unless a performer is extremely lucky, he can’t escape from accidents. It is bound to happen, if not now then in some future shows.
Even Paul Potassy, who coined the term, admitted that he once made a mistake during a live performance. He was so embarrassed by it that he resolved to prevent any accidents from ever happening again in his show. Thus the principle of precision magic was born.
If it’s any consolation to you, precision magic is a visionary system of perfection. Something one can use to motivate oneself to excellence, it is an ideal beyond the reach of the ordinary magician. The awful truth is that no one can prevent accidents from happening. If someone can, he will put all insurance companies out of business.
Even the gods of magic have their shares of accidents during their careers. The Pendragons committed a gaffe during their performance of the Sub Trunk so embarrassing Charlotte refused to get out of the trunk and strike a pose. You must have heard of Harry Blackstone Jr’s disastrous Superbowl opening performance where he made one mistake after another before an audience of thousands in the stadium and millions on television. Roy (of Siegfried and Roy) was mauled by his tiger and ended the duo’s career.
Those mistakes, as big as the names of those magic superstars, would make your dropping the thumb tip a work of art.
If the gods of magic stumble, what can you expect from us commoners?
Well, you can expect accidents from us too, not as spectacular as the superstars’ bloopers but accidents nonetheless.
The only way to achieve zero accidents and zero mistakes is not to perform our shows at all. To paraphrase a so-called Chinese folk wisdom “No talk, no mistakes”, a performer might as well adopt the “No show, no accidents” strategy to attain true precision and perfection in magic,.
Which is a cop-out.
Tomorrow, I will tell you some ways to prevent accidents and mistakes from happening in the show. And they are not cop-outs.
Stay tuned if you want to reach perfection. Or at least do magic that gets by.