Why Aren’t Close Up Magicians Rich?
I recently had the idea to type into the Google search bar ‘why are magicians’ and see what would come up. The top search query was ‘why are magicians not rich’, which I thought, at first, was a bit of a personal question.
Then it dawned on me that perhaps this wasn’t to do with personal income, but instead a sincere question that many people have as to why magicians, if they are as magical as they seem, cannot simply create their own wealth and retire into a [insert type of house here] in [insert Pacific island here] for the rest of their days.
First, the Bad News
Well, to those who are genuinely wondering what the answer to this question is: we can’t do whatever we like.
If you could truly do magic, would you rather:
A) Create the perfect life for yourself and live in utter bliss, or
B) Make a playing card change into a different playing card?
The reason you see magicians doing variations of B) is because we can’t really do magic.
What? So we’re all liars?!
Well, yes. Sorry.
I can hear the headlines being furiously typed up now – ‘Magicians Can’t Really Make Objects Vanish – Magic Proven to be Giant Hoax!’
The Upsetting Truth
Think about it, though. If I could actually turn a lottery ticket into a £20 note, do you not think that, upon discovering my newfound powers, I would run straight into the nearest off-license and do the same thing with every single ticket in the shop?
The primary job of a magician is to create the illusion that something impossible has happened in order to entertain those who are watching. To achieve this, not every word a magician says should be taken as gospel – there is a chance that the coin didn’t actually begin in the left hand in the first place, or that the elastic band didn’t literally melt through the other one.
That Doesn’t Mean it’s Not Magical
The audience, through the use of sleight of hand, psychology, and some very cleverly thought-out tricks, see what appears to be the inconceivable taking place. But if you asked them if they just witnessed wizardry at play, they’d probably answer something along the lines of ‘No, but I still don’t know how the hell it was done! And I will definitely be hiring Marco again!
And to those of you who contributed to making ‘why are magicians not rich’ one of the most asked questions in Google – we’d love to be. For now, however, we’ll have to make do with pretending.