Today I finally got to perform most of my act for my grandfather. I’ll admit, this one was a bit hard for me to do. I mean, even though this is what I love doing and I’ve wanted to perform for him for a while, now, I’ve been dealing with the fear of his reaction. You know, I can perform for complete strangers with only a small amount of stage fright, but doing this for somebody that means so much to me has been hard to do.
Honestly, it’s going to be one of those performances that will stick with me for a long time for all the right reasons.
My bride and I went to visit, and like I’ve done twice before, I had my act packed, ready to go, and with me. I would have probably chickened out if Michele hadn’t brought it up making excuses that I didn’t want to bother him with it. Sometimes, I wish I still had the fearlessness that I had as a kid, not caring about judgment and going through the tricks whether eyes were watching intensely, rolling, or glazed. Reading personal histories of other magicians who started as kids, I find that really trying to start in middle age, I’m doing it completely backwards. Typically, the veterans started out running their stuff to family and friends before getting in front of strangers to perform. For me, it’s harder to do this for friends and family outside of the magic community. I mean, I can talk about working on databases or computer networks until they’re almost begging me to stop, but why, for the love of all that’s holy, do I have this fear to share something that I truly love doing?
It’s pretty much been once again to be an unfounded fear.
I had an audience of two: my grandfather and Michele.
My grandfather sometimes has troubles keeping his eyes open do to issues with tearing, so even though it’s already my opening, I figured I’d at least do the Linking Rings. Nice and visible and if he was having trouble keeping his eyes open after that, well, I could easily call it good.
I’ve not seen his eyes open that wide in a long while, maybe years. And he was laughing and enjoying himself the entire time. I pretty much went through my entire act outside of my new finale. I had left Reggie the Rabbit in my van. (I’m really serious when I tell you how chicken I was about the whole thing.) For the twenty some minutes I did my act, his eyes were open wide the entire time and he laughed through the entire act. I ended the act doing a Mismade Flag routine, and he had been shown how to do this when he was a boy by a magician and had an impish grin on his face at the finale of the routine.
It’s funny, though. I get stage fright to start, but once I’ve started, fear walks out the door and I feel free to play. And that’s what we did. When I start doing my act, the smile plastered to my face is genuine and I can’t stop it.
And my reward for finally doing what I should have done a while back? I saw my grandfather more animated and laughing than I have in a while and got some new stories that he probably didn’t even remember he had. For all the science that can explain it all, for me, this was the true magic. No token laughter, no eyes mostly closed. Just us having fun together. I’m going to be riding this high for a while.
Adult life has it’s good share of highs and lows, but today has shown me why sometimes the right idea is to let my inner five year old take the driver’s seat of the Lil Tikes car and show me where to go.