Mike Rogers – The Insider

Columnist:
Mike Rogers
Editor’s Note:
This week Mike provides good natured fun at the expense of himself and the infamous “magic conventioneer.” We hope you’ll enjoy this lighthearted article.

By Mike Rogers

In my opinion one of the most evil gadgets to ever invade and interfere with the art of conjuring is the computer. Almost overnight people totally lacking magicianís skills become self-proclaimed experts. These experts, mainly magicians whoís names we have never heard, become all knowing, all caring, and self appointed advisors. Proudly, I think I have fallen into this lair.You find us in chat rooms, news groups and bulletin boards. The problem is we self appointed gurus are relegated to the rank and file when disarmed of the mighty computer. We vanish back to where we belong.

My purpose today is to help the on line czars appear to be true magical insiders in the hope that we can surface in person as well as we do in cyber space. Here are a few tips to help convince others that we are true insiders in the world of magic. I use these tactics when attending magic conventions. They seem to work for me. Feel free to use them.

When speaking of famous magicians I always do so in a manner that suggests personal friendship. For instance, I never say, ìDoug Henning would do this.î Instead I say, ìDouggy would do thisî Using a personal nickname has great effect. When speaking of Vernon I make it sound as if my conversations with him were always of a non-magic personal nature. For instance I might say, ìThe Professor always asked me why I like catsup on my eggs.î You get the idea. It comes easy with a practice.

I never carry a deck of cards. I always laugh at myself about this as if it is utterly foolish that I would be caught not having a deck of cards. This makes it seem as if Iím really a card expert, but was careless and forgot to bring a deck. It also means I donít have to prove I really canít do a decent card trick.

I act as if Iíve never heard of someone even though they are well known. Iím never eager to meet anyone; instead I linger in the area until I ìautomaticallyî bump into them. Of course I contrive to make it look as if they bumped into me. It looks as if they are going out of their way to personally meet me. The effect is enhanced when I wear sunglasses, even when in the dimly lighted bar.

I never attend the shows; however, when I do attend any shows I never take my assigned seat. Instead I stand in the back and talk to others who refuse to take their seat. This suggests that Iíve seen it all before. Conversely, I attend one of the lesser shows held during the day. I sit right up front where everyone can see me. I laugh loudly at all the corny jokes, and act as if the simplest of magic fools me to no end. This makes me look humble, and it impresses the beginners in magic.

Iím never in a hurry to attend a function as I always contrive to arrive a bit late. The beginners who scrambled for front row seats envy me for my self-confidence.

I always refer to the last place I worked as ìThe roomî.I weave it into my conversation by saying such things as, ìCan you handle that room, are you too hep for the room, magic seldom plays in that room..î and so on. Calling a venue ìThe Roomî certainly implies extensive experience and inside knowledge.

When I see something really good I never admit to being fooled; conversely, I act as if the latest magic set item fools hell out of me. I claim to have no idea how a popular trick works, and act as if I donít care. Itís important to reflect an attitude of indifference.

When in the bar if there is a live band in the bar I walk up to them and introduce myself as a fellow entertainer. I do this so all the other magicians can see it happen. I never have the foggiest idea who the band is, nor do they care who I am, but I need to subtly imply that I am well known in the entertainment industry.

I claim to have no knowledge of show business jargon and laugh about this lack of knowledge. Yet I follow this up with a few catch phrases that will be almost unknown to others. I use words and phrases such as, ìBally,î ìBreak your jump,î ìRide the boards,î ìFirst of May,î and ìGreenroom.î Moreover, I always refer to a musical score as ìcharts.î That really impresses others.

I try and never call a sleight by its popular name. In other words, a Pass is a Shift, to palm a card is to glom a card, adding a palmed card to the deck is capping the deck, and holding a break in the deck is cracking the deck. Also, I never say the ìSeven of Clubs.î Instead itís ìThe Club Seven.î I speak of all the cards in this manner. What a hoot!

I would never say, ìLast time I was in Hong Kong..î Instead I make it sound as if a gig in Hong Kong is the weekly norm by saying, ì When your rising card deck fails in Hong Kong there are vendors selling batteries on every corner..î I always flash my passport every time I remove my wallet to pay a bar tab. Along the same line I always carry some money from different countries in my wallet, and flash this money at every opportunity as if itís the spending money I use daily. This makes it look as if I am world traveled.

I never admit that any thing is new in magic, and always allude to the best stuff coming from Boyís Life Magazine back in the 40s. Everyone has to take my word for it as who can check?

When killing time at a convention I contrive to stand near the elevators or near the front desk where everyone will see me. I act as if Iím lost. At the same time when moving about the hotel I act as if I have no idea where anything is. I openly ask where to find the bar, the gift shop, and the coffee shop. In other words, I convey the notion that I am just a regular guy having never done any of this before. This helps me appear humble. Additionally it suggests that I am in so many hotels that it becomes confusing trying to remember where everything is.

If one of the real stars of magic happens to be standing around doing nothing I engage him in casual conversation. I talk about the weather, football, or baseball, anything but magic. He probably doesnít have much interest in baseball, which will allow me to lead the conversation. Others watching, but out of hearing range, will think he is confiding in me seeking my magical knowledge. They are really dazzled.

I never admit to being in town for the convention. Instead I tell everyone Iím in town for other magic business and just got lucky that the convention happened to be going on at the same time. Also, in conversation I allude to the fact that I will miss several events because of previous important commitments. This implies that I am giving of myself to spend what little free time I have to be among the magicians. If I can get away with it I donít wear my nametag. I assume everyone already knows me.

There are many more methods of course, but this gets me going. The list will help other cyber experts on magic join the real world where our expertise can be enjoyed in the flesh. As with being an expert in cyberspace the methods Iíve listed here require little talent, skill, or knowledge, of which I possess none.

I seldom attend magic conventions these days so you may not see me in action. However, just look around. There are others like me.