A Year of Stories: “Magic at the Dentist”
I recently went in for a dental appointment to get something checked out before major international travel. The receptionist greeted me with a big smile and hearty “Hey Brian!” as I walked in.
Stephen is one of the best things about my dental group. He is always warm, friendly, and genuinely interested in people. Though we only see each other twice a year he always remembers to ask about magic and my recent travel. When in doubt he strikes up conversations about comic book movies, something he discovered years ago that we both enjoy. Stephen makes my time spent in the waiting room very enjoyable, and I can see that he eases the anxiousness of people who have a fear of the dentist.
When I speak with people in the customer service field about how to make better connections with their clients, Stephen is the ideal to which I challenge them to aspire.
“Brian, Brian – you have to show Linda that thing with your ring!”
Any professional magician will tell you that we are constantly asked to perform in social settings. I loved it when I was just starting out because I always needed an audience to practice on.
But like any passion that becomes a profession, one yearns to get away from it when not at work. Ask your lawyer friend for legal advice while you’re golfing, or your doctor friend to look at your rash when you’re in line for popcorn at the movies, and you’ll see what I mean.
“Really, now, on one of my last days off for a month?” I thought to myself. “I just want to wait for my appointment.”
But as I looked at Stephen, and saw the unbridled enthusiasm in his eyes as he asked me to show his colleague a magic trick, I simply couldn’t refuse. He was paying me a grand compliment.
Begrudgingly I stood up.
“Sure, of course. I haven’t done this in a while, so bear with me.”
I performed a quick trick with nothing more than a regular finger ring, in which I removed the ring and it instantly and invisibly jumped back on to my finger.
Linda’s jaw literally dropped.
“Oh my heavens, that’s incredible!”
With the look of a child who just discovered her first rainbow, she shook her head in disbelief and thanked me for sharing my magic with her.
I cannot even begin to describe how good felt to experience magic the way it used to be, back before it was my job, when my focus was making people happy with my magic, rather than the collection of a paycheck.
Calvin & Hobbes’ creator Bill Watterson retired his beloved comic strip after a multi-year battle with his own publishing company. He was fighting to preserve the integrity of his creation by choosing not to merchandise it. He won, but by that time he was so tired of the business of comic strips that he lost his passion for creating the strip, and the world lost one of its most treasured works of art.
It is easy to lose perspective and start to loathe the very thing you once loved when the business-of-the-thing takes over. Sometimes it takes an outsider to remind us how wonderful it really is.
Thank you Linda for giving that back to me, and thank you Stephen for your unwavering enthusiasm.
Until next time,
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Connect with Brian!
- A Year of Stories: “Faking Confidence” July 24, 2016
- A Year of Stories: “Professional Courtesy” July 17, 2016
- A Year of Stories: “Be Patient” July 10, 2016
- A Year of Stories: “Just Ask” a.k.a. How I Got Sponsored July 3, 2016
- A Year of Stories: “Meeting Kristen Schaal” June 26, 2016