When I was eight years old–about a month from turning nine, I went to a hockey school in Toronto for a week. For the week that followed, my mother toured me through all the kid-friendly parts of Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe that were her old stomping grounds.
We ended up at Fort Erie and the Crystal Beach amusement park: monster roller coaster, fun carnival games, and various other typical amusements. We went to the “Fun House” in which clowns and other stuff would pop out of a strobe-lit darkness to great shocking hilarity. Let it be said, I do not have a clown phobia. That now said, I got to the first unexpected puff of air and out the ride I went. My mother, being the mother she was, was insistent that I go through the ride completely. Eventually she brought the carny operating the fun house to guide all of us through the amusement with a flashlight. Basically, we got a private workman’s tour of the magic behind the ride.
For years I’ve been a bit embarrassed and guilty about what a coward I was. Then I remember that I WAS EIGHT in an adult fun house. So I feel better. It struck me recently, though, that this much-too-close-to-forty-year-old episode was perfectly consistent with who I am and what I’m compelled to do every day.
What I do is pull back the curtain to show everyone that the magic–whatever it is–is just artful trickery. Mostly that’s been in the realm of business. This is not to suggest that these magic tricks are deceitful or nefarious, only that they are not always what they seems to be. Tricks of language, method, or what have you are presented to create and sustain an illusion of magic and insight. I expose it so that everyone who wants can understand it and do the right thing rather than do things right (or as they’re told are “right”).
It all makes sense to me now.