I love it so much I make my own: “If at first you don’t succeed, try to find somebody to blame.”
Then I realize that my version, though facetious, is not funny. It shouts a brutal truth. And, as you know, brutal truths can’t be funny.
Yes, everybody is given to playing the blame game. Look around you, live your life, and you know what I mean.
As magicians in the Philippines, you and I make mistakes during our shows. We drop thumb tips, beak invisible threads, forget to load the rabbit, flash the gimmicks, fail to escape from the trunk, or kill the dove in its loading place.
What do we do with those mistakes?
If you want to become a better magician in the Philippines, you must be man enough to own up to your mistakes. You must be man enough even if you are woman. Accept the blame. Don’t pass it around as if you are playing a popular party game.
The sometimes funny, sometimes corny but always amazing Leodini once said: “If you make a mistake, don’t blame somebody else. The magician is responsible for everything that happens in the performance—even the mistakes of the assistants, the sound man, stage crew, etc., are his mistakes.”
That’s a brilliant lesson! You ought to print and paste it on the bathroom mirror, so you can read it, contemplate it, and internalize it, while relieving yourself of your day’s burden.
Unless you perform only on YouTube, you probably perform live most of the time, not on TV doing pre-recorded shots. In a live show, all kinds of slip-up can happen. No matter how seriously you rehearse and practice your act, one day you’ll commit a boo-boo. And since you are performing live, there is no rewind button for you to press to give you a clean slate and perform your act all over again.
What you can do is to take the embarrassment in your chin, cry a little, be agitated somewhat, mope for a few minutes, and do a lot of self-examination. Then accept the blame.
Accepting the blame constantly reminds you to control all the circumstances of your performance. Self-flagellation might be bad to your psychological well-being, but it keeps you on your toes. It instills self-discipline. It makes you more watchful in your next performance. It drives you to polish your show, get rid of the lapses in your performance, and exorcise the complacency that had set in after years of performing.
It brings you back to your senses and reminds you that you are only human. You are not invincible, because you are not a real magician. You are only a pretend-magician.
So if you want to play the blame game, play it alone and blame yourself. Take the rap for your mistakes. If you must pass the buck, pass it to yourself. This is a good formula for becoming an excellent magician in the Philippines.