Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Secret of Levitating Small Objects
Like most kids my age, back when I was 11 years old in Cebu City, I was very interested in magic tricks. Not watching tricks...but performing them, to astound friends and strangers alike.
Back then, if you knew how to do a trick, that few others knew, you were a "cool" kid.
I knew a few magic tricks myself, such as:
1) The old extending thumb trick
2) Magic writing...the name "Meb" written on a small piece of paper would mysteriously transform to "Mel" after letting the paper fall to the ground.
3) Pulling a coin out of your teeth
4) Ash writing - Write a question on a piece of paper, burn it, rub ashes on your arm, and an mysterious answer appears out of the ether...written in ashes.
5) Passing a string through your neck trick
6) Mysterious bouncing toothpick trick - hold one toothpick across the other and the one on top starts bouncing all by itself.
So I knew a lot of tricks. Unfortunately, all the tricks I knew, were also known by several other kids in my neighborhood. Not COOL. No one wants to watch a trick they've seen several times before. I needed a new trick. Something no one else knew. I felt that must invent a new trick. Its the only way to be unique.
Then it hit me. Levitation. YES!
What could be cooler than levitating stuff? NOTHING!
It was time for some research. Unfortunately, there was no internet back then. So this was going to be tedious manual labor. I went to the school library and checked out a bunch of magic-related books.
There was some stuff about levitation there alright, but none I could use. They all required equipment I did not have or cannot get. Also some just described mysterious levitation by Indians without explanation. How can I use that?!
It was back to racking my good old brain. Now, mind you my brain was no academic marvel. I got OK grades in school (the equivalent of B's and C's in the US). But when it came to crazy schemes and streetsmarts...well thats what my brain was good at.
I thought about how to do a levitation trick all night. Strings was the most obvious way, but since I will be doing this trick up close to other kids and not on a far away stage, everyone will see the string. There had to be another way!
So I slept on this. When I woke up in the morning, an idea had formed. My subconcious must have been working overtime at night.
I tried out my idea...it worked! I immediately ran outside the house to call some of my friends. I asked about 3 people to come to my house and watch me do the trick.
I needed something to levitate. So I unplugged my ATARI game console. I sat on a chair and placed the Atari console on my lap. I placed my hands over the console and pretended to summon unseen powers. A few seconds later...the Atari console visibly rose about 2 inches from my lap.
My friends were astounded. Yeah, 2 inches of levitation may not seem like much...but watching it live and up close...it looks pretty cool. After a few more seconds, that console dropped back down.
One friend was skeptical. He said..."You must be moving one of your legs!"
I told him "No! You can even put your hands on my knees and hold them down to make sure they don't move!"
So he did. And I pretended to summon unseen powers once more. The Atari console rose once more. My friend did not feel my legs move at all. He was wide-eyed. He tried to look under the Atari console, but the moment he tried that, the console fell back down to my lap. But he was still astounded enough. They all asked me how the heck I did it.
I just said "It's a secret!"
Soon they would tell other kids and ask them to come to my house and watch the trick. Or ask me to go to their house and show them the trick there.
So for the next 2 days I entertained other kids from near and far with my levitation trick. I levitated books. I levitated toys. I levitated phonograph records.
But alas, much like the Roman Empire, nothing lasts forever. Not even a secret magic trick.
A few days later I was performing the trick again for a friend of a friend. He asked me to levitate a book. So I did.
As the book rose 2 inches from my lap, he asked how did I do that. I kept saying its a secret.
But he was really curious. And with lightning speed that I could not stop...his arm reached out...and grabbed the book.
And he saw. The secret of levitation has been exposed. He laughed out loud when he figured out how I did it. He told the others. They all laughed out loud too. Both at me and at themselves for not figuring this simple trick out sooner.
So what did he see?
...he saw a bulge in my shorts. :)
So how did I do it?
You should have figured it out by now. :)
As an ancient Greek Philosopher once said "Give me a lever long enough, a fulcrum, and I can lift the Earth."
I merely followed that philosopher's advice. But on far smaller objects than the Earth, and by using a "built-in" natural lever.
Still didn't get it?
It's very simple. All males have an extra "muscle"..."down there". And it is strong enough to lift such things as Atari Consoles and books...well, if it is standing at attention, that is. :)
And that my friends, is the secret to levitating small objects.