Monday, July 04, 2005


For a while now I've been carrying a supply of rubber bands wherever I go. I am practicing a bit of magic that involves one rubber band passing through another one, and I want to get it just right, so that I can do it without looking at my hands and without fumbling. I want it to look casual, as if something impossible just happened accidentally while I was fiddling with a couple of rubber bands.

The reason I am trying to learn this trick is that in one of my Friday classes I have a student who has been disconcerting me all semester with his sleight of hand. He loves magic, and I can tell he practices a lot. You don't get to be that good without practicing a lot. He does not disrupt the class with his magic - he doesn't overdo it - but now and again when the students are on task and I'm checking the room to see where help is needed I'll be distracted by a suddenly vanishing coin, or a coin miraculously leaping UP from the desk to his hand, or by him apologetically reaching out and removing a marble from his partner's ear. He'll do something like this maybe two or three times a class, and he doesn't stop his study to do it. He does it while he is doing whatever it is he is supposed to be doing: casually, as if he didn't mean to. When the students around him demand to know how he did that, he gently steers them back on task. Then he glances at me, to see if I noticed. I smile and give nothing away. It is very funny.

But I want to get a little revenge for all the times he has surprised me. I want to surprise HIM. For this I will have to be able to do my trick smoothly and casually, just as he does. I have been practicing like mad, and for the last few days every time I sit down somewhere I start fiddling with my rubber bands. This means that as I am talking to whoever I am talking to, a series of rubber bands goes flying into the air (except when they hit me in the face). I keep losing the bloody things. Obviously, this is not supposed to happen. The trick is supposed to require two rubber bands, not twenty, and they are not supposed to end up all over the room.

I am apparently getting better at my trick, though. Yesterday I met a Japanese friend, and while we were sitting having coffee and chatting I was fooling with my rubber bands. One went flying, but as she was saying something to me and I was paying careful attention, I noticed her eyes going down to my hands. I casually did my trick, not taking my eyes off her face, and her startled double take was exactly what I have been aiming for. She actually jumped, and forgot what she had been saying.

But I don't get it right every time, yet. I'm hoping to be proficient by next Friday. If not, then the Friday after next.

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Mama Mouse said...

I, for one, will be waiting to hear the tale of how your trick goes when you attempt to amaze your student! He sounds like a very nice young man.

Cheryl said...

Wonderful idea! Good luck!

Lippy said...

I absolutely adore magic tricks. Can't wait to hear of your resounding success!

Storm said...

heh, that's great. The most I can do with a rubber band is flick it--I have a great aim. I don't get to show it off much, as I'm no longer in Jr. High, but it's still useful every great once in a while.

I wanted to stop in and say hello, thank you, and that I'm so sorry. I said as much in my own comments section, but if your browsing style is anything like mine, you may never see it. :)