This is a memoir I wrote for my Freshman accelerated English class. It got me an 'A' so I decided to share it here. I hope you enjoy it.
"How good can he be? He’s only fourteen.”
I hate my age. Everybody says to enjoy your childhood, but I feel at this age very restricted; I can’t do many things that I want to accomplish. I feel that there is a large, invisible wall holding me back. That wall is my age. At 14 years old, I have to put my dreams aside. I have too much to do right now that is holding me back from what I really want to do. I really want to travel to New York and live there. But how can I, not being at least 18 and having loads of homework every night? Patience is said to be a virtue, but I just hate waiting.
Those words still haunt me, even though they are a few months old. For around seven years, I’ve been a magician. I’ve won three awards, and have had an article about a television appearance in the newspaper. I love to perform and spread this unique form of entertainment. I think magic is different than any other craft imaginable; it’s inimitable because of the way spectators react: pure astonishment. But once in a while, I get comments about my young age. Some are polite and optimistic, but most are offensive and condescending. Just because I am young, does that mean I am less skilled than others? All of the countless hours of me locked in my room practicing with a deck of cards are lost. All of my performing experience that I worked hard to achieve is lost. And it’s all because I am only fourteen. It really affects me, and it’s something I still don’t know how to respond to. I’ve encountered the situation many times, and each time it’s more surprising than the last.
It was early January, a New Year’s party. It was dark outside and I was at a more up-scale restaurant performing. My performance is just a quick five minute act. My stage is their table. The magic is up close and personal. Everyone was enjoying it, one person even said that my performance was the “highlight of my [their] evening.” I went to yet another unsuspecting spectator and politely asked if I could borrow some of their time in order for me to amuse them. That’s another unique thing about magic; you are able to intrude into somebody else’s space and take away some of their time. It’s not planned, and they have no idea what’s coming. The new spectators happily said yes, and were ready to be astonished. I was ready too; the numerous hours of practice pays off when I see the reaction on their face when I am completed with my small performance. For many years my opening trick has been the same. I consider it to be one of my most powerful effects; who knew so much can be done with three silver half dollars? In essence, three coins, one by one, invisibly travel from one hand to the other without the hands touching. I was performing that routine when it happened. Though it was loud in the restaurant, I heard the words clearly. The male spectator whispered to his wife, “How good can he be? He’s only fourteen.”
I didn’t know how to react; I stuttered and I stammered. A drop of sweat slowly dripped down from my forehead. My hands started to shake uncontrollably. What am I supposed to say when someone insults me in front of my face? I had to work my mind rapidly and think on my feet. I made a quick decision, a gut instinct. I decided to finish the trick I was performing, and then leave. I was the one barging into their space; they didn’t ask me to perform. I felt that it was like a violation of privacy, and they might’ve just said yes to be polite. If they didn’t want to see the magic, I had many people who did, and were specifically waiting for me. So I ended my performance short, said thanks for their time, and walked to other tables. After about another hour of performing, the host of the event told me that some people asked if I would go and perform to them next. I love getting requests to perform. It makes me feel good; I feel that people appreciate the hard work I put into this art. When I glanced at the people who asked for me, I immediately noticed that they were the same people for whom I stopped my performance short. My brain was spinning with rage at what they said before; I loathed the fact that they snubbed me in front of my face. I wished I could make them disappear. But I had to go on. This was business and I wouldn’t let personal issues get in the way. As it turns out, the people enjoyed that one coin trick I showed them so much, they wanted to see more. I swiftly forgot about the past, and was eager to see what the future would hold. This was a paid performance and I couldn’t embarrass myself by saying I wouldn’t perform for them. So I finished my little set, and asked what they thought. They loved it. They said I was one of the best magicians they had ever seen. They thanked me for engrossing their attention and I left. A bad beginning turned out to have a happy ending. When I finished the gig, got my paycheck, I walked out of the restaurant with a big smile on my face. In my head, I knew what happened. The people realized what they said was wrong. They realized age wasn’t a deciding factor, but the amount of time and effort put into something was. They learned that even the youngest of people could surprise them with something that no one would ever expect.
Some things are not what they appear to be. That’s something I learned when I first started magic, as it’s a fundamental idea. It’s also something that deals with age. The seven year old contortionist might be as good, if not better, than the thirty year old. Age deceives you, in the same way magic does. When you’re looking at one thing, something totally different is happening ‘behind the scenes’ at the same time. Whether it might be secretly putting a final load under a cup, or having a hidden talent, it’s invisible right in front of your eyes. For that reason, every time I see a young performer, of any type, live or on TV, I smile. Because I know that they have potential, even if they’re not the greatest. I know what it feels like to be discriminated against an age, and that’s why I make sure that I never make the same mistake. You just never know what’s going on inside a person, just like you never know what’s going on in a magic trick.