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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » What happened, was this... » » The arrogance of youth. :) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MobilityBundle
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Las Vegas/Boston
120 Posts

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I grew up in Las Vegas. I first got in to magic at about age 15. I saw a friend back-palm a card, and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I pestered him for a month to teach me how to do it. He finally did. I was hooked.

Some time later, I went to a magic store intent on becoming an excellent magician. I left with copies of Modern Coin Magic and Expert Card Technique. I worked through them for a while, off and on. I also got both volumes of Bill Tarr's "Now You See It, Now You Don't."

By the time I was 18, I considered myself a serious magician. (After all, I had FOUR books on the subject!) I started college at UNLV as a math major. People noticed I always carried a deck of cards around, and occasionally would say to me, "You know, there's this math professor here who is really good at magic. He's super nice... you should go talk to him."

And I thought, "Yeah, right. Some math professor. Lucky me, I can see the ole' 21 card trick. Or maybe a Scotch and Soda routine. I'm a serious magician. Not worth my time." So I never really sought this guy out.

But eventually, I had some time to kill and I was in the math department, so I thought... why not. I'll go see this guy, and if HE'S lucky maybe I'll teach him to back-palm a card. So I asked the department secretary where Prof. Allan Ackerman's office was...

Fortunately, I didn't have a chance to open my mouth and embarrass myself. As I walked in, I mentioned I was into magic and he invited me to sit down. As I did, I realized he had shelves of magic books and old decks of cards. I got the feeling that perhaps this exchange wasn't going to go the way I thought...

He did a few tricks, which were of course mind blowing. And he graciously chatted with me a little about magic, and patiently sat through whatever trick I did for him. He gave me a few pointers on my double lift, and I left... edified.

Around the same time, I became friendly with Looy Simonoff... but in his role as a math professor, not a magician. He would stop by a Carl's Jr. across from the university a few times a week and chat with some of the other mathematicians who hung out there. I would ask him and the other mathematicians endless questions about all kinds of mathematical topics. (Turns out, these exchanges were a lot like similar gatherings of magicians... theorems flow into each other just as easily as magic tricks.)

I knew Looy in this capacity for about a month before I told him the Ackerman story. He had a bit of a mischievous sense of humor, so he listened patiently. After my story he said, "I didn't know you were a magician... show me a trick!"

So I did whatever trick I had done for Ackerman, but hopefully with a better double lift. Looy then took the cards and said, "You know, that reminds me of this strange phenomenon..." and did a few of his own. I was flabbergasted! At that point, I would have believed that every math professor at UNLV was also a magician.

I never had the courage to bother Ackerman again, but Looy was a great friend and mentor. Of the many things he taught me, perhaps humility is the most valuable.
J-L Sparrow
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Cool story! Thanks for sharing.

I have to wonder if I'll ever (or already have) run into a seemingly average person, only to learn years later that he/she would become a big name in magic.
Louis Lu
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Great story! Hope other people reading can take way the lesson about not making assumptions about people you meet and to not allow your perceived magic skills go to your head.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Ain't it the truth! Sad to admit, I am an avid reader of Louis L'Amour books- mostly the western series. He frequently mentions how, in the old west, one could never tell what someone's history or skills were. People came west for a thousand different reasons, and some who came where very skilled or educated. Yet, they blended into the west and you couldn't tell who knew what.

The "can't tell a book by its cover" is so, so true...

Yeah, really good story...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
David Fillary
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658 Posts

Profile of David Fillary
I was in a shop and bought some poker chips, and somehow it came up that I was going to use them for magic when buying them from the shop owner. He said something like "what producing coins like this?" and produced a coin. I get this all the time and thought nothing of it - he had the money I just gave him after all. He then proceeded to blow my mind doing a coins across that I swear should use a gimmick, but they were my coins and ended with them all vanishing, the last one looking like a Slydini lapping move, but he was standing behind a glass counter with sleeves rolled up and no shirt pocket. Turns out he "used to be professional"!

It's great to experience these moments, as it reminds you what it feels like to be a spectator! Yours was a great story Smile
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