A few weeks ago, I was out to dinner with some friends when we were suddenly accosted by a strolling magician. He was one of those guys who walks around from table to table performing close-up magic tricks for anyone who will give him the time of day. Now, I'm not one to judge a book by its cover, so I decided to give the guy a chance. Unfortunately, what I found was that strolling magicians can be divided into three distinct categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good: There are some strolling magicians out there who are actually really good at what they do. They've honed their craft and perfected their sleight of hand to the point where they can genuinely amaze and entertain their audiences. If you're ever lucky enough to run into one of these guys, make sure you stop and enjoy the show. Trust me, it'll be worth your while.
The Bad: Unfortunately, the vast majority of strolling magicians fall into this category. They're not bad enough to be offensive or repulsive, but they're not good enough to be truly entertaining either. Their tricks are hackneyed and their patter is clichéd. If you find yourself being approached by one of these guys, my advice is to politely decline and move on with your evening.
The Ugly: And then there are the few magicians who are so bad that they're actually offensive. They don't just fail to entertain; they actively annoy and irritate everyone around them with their terrible jokes and even worse magic tricks. If you find yourself in the company of one of these so-called "entertainers," my advice is to get up and leave as quickly as possible before they have a chance to really ruin your night.
The next time you're out on the town and a strolling magician tries to approach your table, keep this blog post in mind. Chances are he's going to fall into one of the three categories I've outlined above. And unless you're feeling particularly masochistic, you're probably going to want to avoid the latter two categories entirely. Just remember: when it comes to strolling magicians, caveat emptor!