From the time I could first remember, I was always surrounded by stories. I had significantly gifted story-tellers in my life. My Grandpa Aldrich (Mom’s Dad) could spin a yarn about Dolly O’Rourke and her husband, Shorty the Dwarf, that would leave everybody in stitches. (Metaphorical, not Literal)
And my Grandma Beyer (Dad’s Mom) taught me about family history. She told me the story of how my Great Uncle, her brother, died in a Navy training accident during World War II. He was in gun turret aboard a destroyer when something went wrong, killing three in the explosion.
Words have power. They can connect you to people who died before you were ever born. They have the power to make you laugh, or make you cry.
Are you reading my words now? After you have read them, they will be “read.” Take away the “a” and they will change color. They will be “red.” Did you see that trick coming? Especially since I telegraphed it with the colored picture that, if you are a normal reader, you read the “red” right before I connected it to “reading.”
Comedy, the writing of things that can be (can bee, can dee, candee, candy) funny, is a magical sort of word wrangling that is neither fattening nor a threat to diabetes if you consume it. How many word tricks are in the previous sentence? I count 8. But that wholly depends on which “previous sentence” I meant. I didn’t say, “the sentence previous to this one.” There were thirteen sentences previous to that one (including the one in the picture) and “previous” simply means “coming before.” Of course, if it doesn’t simply mean that, remember, lying is also a word trick.
Here’s a magic word I created myself. It was a made-up word. But do a Google picture search on that word and see if you can avoid artwork by Mickey. And you should always pay attention to the small print.
So, now you see how it is. Words have magic. Real magic. If you know how to use them. And it is not always a matter of morphological prestidigitation like this post is full of. It can be the ordinary magic of a good sentence, or a well-crafted paragraph. But it is a wizardry because it takes practice, and reading, and more practice, and arcane theories spoken in the backs of old book shops, and more practice. But anyone can do it. At least… anyone literate. Because the magic doesn’t exist without a reader. So, thank you for being gullible enough for me to enchant you today.
Wizard Wits and Tolerable Tricks
Once in a while, though not often, it pays to be a wizard. It is easy to become a wizard. Socrates tells us that the key to wisdom is knowing that you don’t know anything at all. Most of us can handle that realization with ease. I myself question everything constantly. You know… because I don’t know anything.
Being a parent is a lot like that. Any idiot can make a baby. You don’t have to take any classes or get any kind of license. Heck, you have to have a license to go fishing in Texas and Fishing Police are very real.
But I do remember one time when my oldest was a toddler and I was stuck taking care of him during an after-school teachers’ meeting. It is hard when the principal is talking about things you have to hear and the baby is colicky at the same moment. Fortunately, the Counselor’s daughter and her best friend were still hanging around the school cafeteria where the meeting was held. Wizard that I am, all I had to do was look pathetic and overwhelmed. My son was also cute enough that, once he got their attention, they actually volunteered to take over as temporary parents with the baby safely entertained in a sound-proof classroom nearby. And they didn’t charge me. And I was smart enough not to ask them to pay me for the privilege, because they enjoyed it so much they volunteered to do it again for any future meetings where I was in charge of him. That happened about three more times that year.
And I was able to use my wizardly powers to make my life as a substitute teacher easier the last time I did it during December. Students who had never seen me before took one look and started acting extremely polite, cooperative and helpful.
Of course, like a true wizard I had no idea at all why they were so keen on discussing new kinds of cell-phones with me, or whoever the heck Tommy Hilfiger was and why a gray t-shirt with his name on it was so much more valuable than an ordinary gray t-shirt.
And, like a wizard, I told a joke like this in more than one class;
“I overheard my Russian friend Rudolf arguing with his wife. It was snowing outside.”
Rudolf’s wife said, “It’s snowing outside, dear Rudolf.”
“No, you are wrong. That is rain outside, dearest,So” said Rudolf.
“No, it isn’t. It is actually snow, dear informationally-challenged Rudolph.”
“Yes, it is rain. Rudolf the Red knows rain, dear!”
After they all groaned and sniggered, they all went immediately back to talking to me about Christmas shopping, but only while acting very, very good.
What was all of that about? I wondered. But the wizard in me kept thinking about buying lumps of coal.
So, those are some of my best wizard tricks. Like the wizard in that first illustration. Fistandantalas Crane, the wizard, learned how to switch places with his avatar inside the crystal ball. This was a wizard move because in the crystal-ball world, Crane was immortal. But he didn’t invent a way to switch back with his avatar. And he found life in crystal-ball world very boring.
In light of Mark Zuckerberg’s recent innovations on Facebook, I sincerely hope he doesn’t read this post and get any ideas. I can imagine myself stuck in Facebook world, even more boring than the inside of a crystal ball. And even though my avatar is better looking than I am, I have to worry that everybody calls Mark Zuckerberg a wizard too. And I could be tempted by immortality.
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