Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another Step
In the continuing series of "how Jay Johnson ruined the children." An account from long ago.

When I was a freshman in High School we moved to Richardson, Texas.  Next door was the Davis family composed of three boys and a girl.  They were great people and great neighbors as well. The little girl was the youngest, barely two when we moved in.  
Although the other Davis kids would not sit still long enough to be my captive audience, Debbie was too small to run away.  Plus, she was of the age when a magic trick can be repeated endlessly with continued amazement.  This is an important fact since I only knew three magic tricks at the time. 
It was an afternoon I spent playing with modeling clay when Debbie and her mother Edith dropped by.
Neither Debbie nor I was much interested in the the conversation between the two mothers, but Debbie was very interested in the clay.  We rolled snakes and made clay balls for a while, but quickly exhausted our skills as sculptors.  Out of boredom my interests turned to magic tricks. Magic seems to go with ventriloquism like peanut butter goes with jelly or perhaps as poison goes with stomach cramps.  It depends on how you perceive novelty acts.
So, with Debbie as my audience, I rolled a ball of clay, did  the sleight of hand pass I was working on and the ball of clay disappeared from my hand.  Debbie was totally amazed and when I pulled the missing ball from her ear, she was ecstatic.  She giggled and wanted me to do the trick again and again.  She watched in renewed awe each time the wad of clay disappeared from my hand and reappeared from her ears.  Houdini never experienced such a warm response as I got that day with my one trick magic show.  If the story ended there... well there really wouldn't be a story.
The next day I got home from school and very soon the door bell rang.  It was Edith and Debbie.  I noticed right away that Debbie was sporting a new, much shorter, hair do.  A detailed explanation soon followed. It seems that Debbie had taken on the role of Sorcerers Apprentice that morning, and attempted to duplicate the miracle she saw me perform with the magic clay.  And like the classic story of the Apprentice it did not go well.
Debbie found some modeling clay at her house, rolled it in a ball and then... stuck it in her ears, over and over again. Her conjuring method was totally wrong, but her persistence was impeccable.  Edith did not notice what she was doing until both sides of her head were caked with the oily clay a half inch thick.  It was a trip to the doctor to remove the clay jammed into her ears, but her hair was even more unfortunate.  The oil in the clay kept it from washing out and became molecularly bound to her long brown curls.  The only solution was to cut the clay from her hair.  In some incidences very close to the sides of her head.  It was much too soon for her "do" to be considered sheik punk, and it looked... well unflattering to say the least. 
As I remember it Edith was not so much mad at me as she was sure that Debbie and I should never be allowed to play together unsupervised again. Debbie grew to be one of my biggest fans, and now has kids of her own.  I am fairly certain they are not allowed to practice magic nor play with modeling clay thereby negatively affecting two generations of children.  Mothers of the world will be glad to know that I did not continue my career in magic. 
As you were,

1 comment:

Aaron said...

This story seems contradictory to yesterday's. It seems that children DO like you!!!