18 September 1968 / Magnus Estate

Granted, I rarely have a day that resembles the preceding day in any way, but it sometimes happens. Today was shaping up to be one of those days, and honestly, I didn’t know if I could take Mailer, or rather, that face he painted on his chest and stomach and that oversized top hat he wore over his own head, shoulders, and arms, any longer. Though his dancing was mesmerizing, I was already growing tired of it last night.

So I was thankful when my assistant interrupted Mailer’s hopping around and knocking lamps over to bring me a magazine I’d interviewed for recently. I’d at least have a valid excuse to look away so Mailer wouldn’t throw a hissy. I hate it when he goes through these bouts of low self-esteem.

Anyway, immediately I noticed the theme of this issue was modern “magic” with the cover featuring a young man pretending to be intense while performing a levitation illusion. The woman could care less from the looks of it.

I remember the premise of this interview was that I was a Leader of Science. According to the cover, though, now I’m a sorcerer. Hopefully, I’m one of the good ones, and not evil.

Oh, I’m not surprised. I’ve been misunderstood, and sensationalized--the list goes on and on, and much of what gets into print is just weird. Now I’ve been adjusted to fit a theme of the month.

A brief scanning of the article and I could see that they merely substituted words to make the idea work. Mitosis with Misdirection. Photosynthesis with Saw-Blade Death Boxes. Wolverines with Bikini Clad Assistants. It’s surprising how much the article still makes perfect sense.

Usually, this sort of misrepresentation would make me angry, but it reminded me of the close intertwined relationship science and magic has always had. I’ve always rejected the notion that true “magic” exists but I won’t be so arrogant to deny that there is some magic in science. I’d venture to say that most of our earliest scientists were merely failed, bitter magicians. Now, it’s the other way around. I remember reading how Harry Blackstone got a C- in Biology.

I also couldn’t be too upset at the article because my father, who despite his great scientific mind, listed “slight-of-hand expert” on the top of his CV. The skill was so highly esteemed by him, except he was truly terrible at it. If he knew it, it didn’t show, because he continued to try to make the Statue of Liberty disappear and levitate over the Grand Canyon until his death (the latter, of course, causing his death).

So there is a soft spot in my heart for this nonsense. And maybe just for kicks I should explore the subject to honor him. I recently met some kid in New York named Jay or Ricky or something who seemed to have a knack for that sort of stuff. Maybe I’ll give him a call.

Of course, I’ll have to keep my new friend a secret from Mailer lest he slip deeper into his funk out of jealousy. I’m afraid of what I’ll have to sit through next.