Bad Magician

Turns out my friend Thomas has become a close-up magician.

Hadn’t seen him in over a year, and he walks into my house yesterday holding a small black case with silver edging and a Vegas sticker on it.  His magic kit, it turns out.  He makes me wait until after lunch to show me a few of his best card and dice tricks.

It didn’t go well for Thomas.

His first trick involved matching the five I rolled on a die (which I personally selected out of many) with one he had previously concealed in a rubber-band bound box.  Except when I opened the box, the die inside was a two.


For his second trick, he was going to make the card I chose and re-inserted into the deck, the ten of hearts, pop up to the top of the deck after some serious shuffling and cutting.  Except when he turned the top card over it was a two of diamonds.  And the card below that was a five of spades.


At this point, most magicians would have packed up their kit and disappeared, but Thomas wasn’t about to quit on me.  He tried to find my six of hearts next and couldn’t, and by then I figured he was going for the ‘magician so bad it’s funny’ thing.  Except I could see on his face he was really trying to nail these tricks.

Only he couldn’t.

The whole scene reminded me of another amateur conjurer whose magic has been consistently failing, our illusionist-in-chief.  The world audience has been discovering that most of the tricks Trump says he’ll perform don’t actually work.

Watch me make a wall paid for by Mexico suddenly appear!

Watch me make the thriving coal industry re-appear!

Watch me prioritize the 99% over the 1%!

Watch me make Obamacare and my ties to Russia disappear!

Watch me turn a horrible disaster response into a perfect ten!




It hasn’t gone well for Donald.

At least my friend Thomas believes in his tricks – he was trying to make his magic work.  Trump seems to know his tricks are bunk but he performs them anyway.  Then, like a bad magician, he tweets a few diversions and hopes no one will notice the tricks fail.  His audience seems to enjoy the show, but the rest of us are ready for some real American magic.

The first great trick – turn a failing national infrastructure into a thriving one!

Next, make profit-maximization in American healthcare disappear!

Quick snap of the fingers and – presto – renewable energy instead of fossil fuels!

How about pulling some actual middle-class tax breaks out of a hat!

Or the best trick of all – use Larry Flint’s $10 million offer (Link to Article) to make the bad magician himself disappear!

Ta da.

Here’s the great thing about this particular American Magic Show – we get to pick some new illusionists every year and a brand new headlining magician every four.  No matter where you live, you can show up at the polls and select your favorite performers. (Link to November Elections)  If we sit at home and let someone else make the choice, though, we’ve seen what happens to our national stage when an incompetent fool takes the spotlight.


Of course, who knows, Trump may surprise us doubters and learn some new tricks that actually work.

My friend Thomas did.

After his first three fails, the next three card tricks worked.  First Thomas found my five of spades in the stack of cards I chose.  Then my Queen of diamonds was the only facedown card in a brand new deck.  And finally he somehow got all four sixes to show up in a random pile I created.

Ta da.

Magic tricks are only wonderful when they work.

  • Mike Lukas


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