New Lamps for Old!
In the story of Aladdin the evil magician tricks the princess into giving up the magic lamp by posing as a merchant offering a seemingly ridiculous bargain, that of exchanging a brand new lamp for any old ones the princess had just laying around.
This, of course, was so that he could get his hands on the magic lamp and it’s genii.
The implied lesson is that just because it’s old doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Also, you should always know what you have in your hands first before you give it up for something new and shiny.
I have, of late, had cause to consider this notion in light of my magic. The other night I was at a party and I and brought along my “commando bag”, the small bag of effects I can do anywhere, anytime so that I will always be ready to perform. Of course an opportunity arose and I entertained for a pretty decent amount of time.
The problem I ran in to was that I ended up going through all my material. Twice.
Now I suppose in some ways that’s not a big deal. After all, I got to perform and it made some people very happy. And I got in more “flight time” (more than just practice time).
But the material in my “commando bag” is getting old in the sense that I think I need to find some new things to rotate in just so that people aren’t seeing to much of the same stuff over and over again. My first instinct was to look around and see what might be new in the magic world that I might be interested in doing.
That is the wrong instinct.
Sure, it’s good to be paying attention and looking at what is new and different because there might be something worth your attention, but I have a huge library of magic books and boxes of old magic props. It makes more sense to go delving into what I already have in order to fit this particular need.
I don’t need a new lamp. I’ve got plenty of old ones that need some love and attention.
There are many things I could be playing with, even just some old card tricks that I used to do all the time that I could be brushing up. The magic dealers don’t get as much from me as they once did. Not because they don’t produce some good stuff but simply because I should be taking advantage of what I already have and setting myself some hard line limits to what I’m willing to buy.
Individual props can be fun but their value relative to a good book of magic is not nearly the same. And all those unused props I have sitting in boxes? Time to put them to use before I go and buy something different.
I’m not an evil magician looking to swap new lamps for old. I’m an evil magician who is reexamining the value of the old lamps he’s already got.