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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » A Story of Respect ? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

RandyWakeman
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A Story of Respect

A longtime friend, who tells this tale with increasing fervor as the years go by, related the details of this event to me. Perhaps you will understand why the affect on him was so profound. The specifics of this event show a great deal about what respect and honor can seem to be in the tiny world of magic, and what they really are.

It was at an earlier Desert Magic seminar, and the “achievement award” was to be presented at Siegfried and Roy’s estate in Las Vegas. The attendees were transported via bus to the S & R compound from the convention, for the festivities and the award presentation. The day was hellishly hot.

All began as planned, with Siegfried finally hopping up to lavish praise on the older man to be honored. The words of thanks spewed forth: “Without this man, there would be no Magic. The gifts he has given us can never be properly repaid. No man has ever represented our Art for so long, for so well, in such an enduring way. This man is truly a god among magicians, there is no one that cannot be awed, humbled, and filled with joy at his presence. The work of this incredible man, this man of wonder, may never again be equaled in our lifetimes!”

Applause filled the room, and the frail little man, old and not in particularly good health, accepted his little plaque graciously. All seemed well. Suddenly, it was “time to leave.” All guests were escorted out into the searing heat, and the gates were closed and locked.

Unfortunately, the buses for transport back to the convention were not there. The weather was truly miserable, everyone was horribly uncomfortable, and- no transportation. A few folks had called for private cars, like Bill Larsen, and sped off. The bulk of the guests were left to bake in the heat.

Finally, the buses started to arrive. The cranky conventioneers pushed and shoved, getting on the first available bus as soon as they could. There were not enough buses, though, and it took a long time. Round after round of buses arrived and left, but still there were folks waiting.

That is when my friend looked over and saw the sight that bothers him to this day, a picture he will never forget. A riveting, appalling commentary of the true meaning of this specific “honor and respect.”

The honoree, the man praised moments before as this wondrous god of magic, was left behind. There, standing by the curb, was this frail man, drenched in sweat, pathetically clutching the lifetime achievement award he had just been ceremoniously given. An older man, so obviously in distress, shaking, sweating, trembling- yet still was grasping his little award just given to him moments before. Loudly was he praised, but the high “honor” had turned quickly into indifference that screamed much louder, and screams to this day.

The man was Tony Slydini.
John Smetana
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???? - 2009
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If the story is true, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, I am embarassed and saddened by this occurrence. What small shallow people they must be...

John Smetana Smile
Payne
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Which of course begs the question.

What did your friend do when he saw Slydini standing there?
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
RandyWakeman
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The story speaks to how we sometimes "honor" our own.

As to what my friend did, after the shock of the discovery wore off . . . was to ensure Mr. Slydini was at least on the next bus, while he himself waited afterwards in the heat for another hour or so. No cell phones back then.
Payne
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I am glad your friend did the honorable thing. One would think S&R would have made the appropriate arrangements to keep this awful event from occuring in the first place but that still doesn't excuse the actions, or inactions of the other fellow magi.
True Respect and admiration is a rare thing in our "Me First" society. We give it much lip service but little attention.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Garrett Nelson
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The image you painted haunts me.

That is just horrible, to put it mildly.
RandyWakeman
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I'm glad it does. A simple posting will not change the past, and condemnation of individuals serves little purpose. The event mentioned cannot be reconciled.

We can all look a little deeper as to what true honor and respect is, against "awards" that honor the bestowers more than the recepients. Things are not always what they seem.
Margarette
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Randy,
That incident you just recounted has left me speechless! As many of my friends can attest to, that ain't no small accomplishment, neither!

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Matt Graves
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That's just really sad. Smile I can only hope that those people didn't realize what was going on . . .
RandyStewart
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Gee thanks Randy, that story ripped my heart out and threw it to the dogs. I'm sorry you had to recount it as such unforgiveable realities cannot be forgotten.
However! I do find consolation in one belief regarding that horrid story. Slydini knew what it meant to be a truly great man and performer. He understood the nasty imperfections of human nature far better than most performers today. This unique/superior quality, among his others, evidenced by the very fact that he was there to pickup YET ANOTHER AWARD that the others present would never achieve.
I'm sure he reminded himself, in that scorchin' heat, how lonely it is at the top even while physically surrounded by peers.
And I'm further comforted by knowledge that he will always remain one of the GREATS in magic....
He showed us all, by not protesting this disrespectful treatment that day, what it means to be GREAT. And may it remind us all what it really takes to celebrate and respect others accomplishments/contributions - takes a lot more than just handing them a plaque.

I'll take his path anyday.

Randy Stewart
RandyWakeman
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Randy, you write well. It seems that modesty can elevate greatness, as it certainly did in the case of Mr. Slydini.
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