I was never very good a legerdemain, particularly when done with the explicit purpose of entertaining others. A deck of cards, a few cups with a ball, a multicolored scarf - all props intended to supply an easy dose of amusement with a few motions, a wave of the wand, and a magic word. Simple to learn; simple to execute.
Or so they said.
I recall a night spent trying to teach kids how to do a card trick when I was no more than tot myself. Volunteering for the event had seemed like such a good deed, but when confronted with my inability to master the trick ("Was it the ace in front or the 8?"), my choice now seemed like a voluntary trip to purgatory. Barely held back from the stage by their fatigued parents, the crowded room of pixie-stick laden elementary school children waited impatiently for the magician to perform the trick and quickly turned their hungry eyes towards the helpers - at me.
Imagine a herd of wildebeests coming at you. Now imagine you having to teach those wildebeests how to tapdance and you don't even have the right tap shoes. Then picture the wildebeests picking up the steps on their own and looking at you as a lion would.
Welcome to my evening.
To say the least, I didn't master my legerdemain that evening, or even the next. But I worked on it and one day, I did it. I made the trick work.
Houdini I may not be, but for a moment, at least I had found my tap shoes.