Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Dad, the Magician

It always lent itself to interesting events when Dad was left alone with the boys for the night. For a time, my mother sold makeup traveling around and doing private parties full of ladies in their early thirties who also left their husbands alone with the children, all of them laughing and painting their faces while fathers all over the city were simultaneously shoving arms back into socket and teaching little children how to keep a good secret. I loved these nights. I think I loved these nights because of the thrill of knowing Dad was going to think of something entertaining for us. (Also, there was a time in high school when a few buddies and I watched Night of the Living Dead, and immediately tried to hike into the woods in pitch darkness. That was a terrifying, awful moment that I loved. That’s how I loved nights alone with Dad)
There was one trick Dad had up his sleeve that could entertain me from the time my mother shut the door until the time she returned. (However, I also really like when he taught us how to wrestle professionally...not just imitating Sting...) Dad would take a single penny in his hand, and call me over to stand right next to him. He would show me the penny in his hand, and swiftly ball his fist around it. He would, then, say
“Ok, Buddy, blow on my hand.”
“phthfpf” Said I with more saliva than breath.
In a sudden movement, Dad would open his hand and the penny would have completely vanished. Now, before Dad had made the penny vanish he had asked me,
“Where do you want the penny to end up?”
I would point to the flower vase atop the mantel which hung above the fireplace, and say,
“In there!”
Once I saw his empty hand in front of my face, I would run as hard as my little legs could carry me and I would stand on my tip toes straining to see inside the vase. My brother had gotten there before me, and said,
“You want it to be in here, Taylor?”
And Chad would pull out a shiny penny and present it to me, convincing me that my dad truly was a magician. The excitement was so extreme, my superman pajamas could hardly contain me.
I cannot convey to you the feeling of mystery and excitement that rushed through me every time the penny disappeared and showed up exactly where I had requested. There in my very own living room--the room that I walked through on a daily basis, the room where we would lie around watching TV, or where I would play with trucks on the floor--in this room there was suddenly magic. In this everyday room, reality bent and the impossible became possible. To make it even more mind-blowing, it was my ol’ man! The same guy who came home every night at 5:00, ate across the dinner table from me, got upset when I talked back, called me “Bud,” This everyday guy was a freaking sorcerer! Can’t you see how amazing it was to see magic up close and be able to touch it and talk to it. Magic was a part of my life, and it was real. That is what was so special to me. Magic was reality. Reality was magic.


Betsy said...

now i know why you say "dad" in a hushed whisper. he's a sorcerer.

Brian R Dunn said...

that's an incredible story. i want to believe in magic again...