Wednesday 13 May 2015

Astound and Annoy! (with Prankster Magic from Klutz)

by Linda Olbourne, editor, buyer, and self-proclaimed dinner entertainer

I’m not a prankster, but the rest of my family definitely falls into that category. While my role as the “gullible victim” is an important one, I felt it was time to turn the tables a bit. Dinner plans with my husband, our friends, and their children were fast approaching, and I was determined to show these folks a thing or three!
Here’s the situation: You’re out to dinner at a restaurant and the kids are BORED.
We’ve all seen it (and most of us have done it)—just whip out the phone or tablet to keep everyone happy until the mac and cheese arrives. It’s fast! It’s easy! It’s . . . no fun for an adult who wants to actually hang out with the kids long before packing them up for college. I don’t get to see my young extended family or the kids of my friends on a daily basis, so when they are around I want to get some quality time with them.
But how much fun can you have at a restaurant without annoying everyone around you or upsetting the waitstaff? Well, a lot, actually. A little pre-reading of Klutz’s Prankster Magic set me up to star in my own ridiculous dinner show and I loved it.
I practiced at home first, enlisting my cat, Posey and husband, Shane as test subjects.
For my first trick, “Phony Fork Bending” . . .
Props needed:
  • A dime: Try your couch, pockets or purse for this one.
  • A metal fork: 99.9% of restaurants with tablecloths can help you here.
You hide the dime in your hands, move the fork down, tip the dime forward and BAM. It looks like you’ve managed to bend your fork up at the back.
I made Shane demonstrate because I haven’t done my nails:
It’s cooler in person!
The best part is when you “magically” bend it back into place. This was a great opportunity to really use my full repertoire of sound effects. “Grrrrrrrr ahiahahiayaaaaaa!” is a favorite.
Reactions may vary. At dinner, they ran from wonder and disbelief (4 year old) to eye-rolling and the silent treatment (12 year old), but I can handle it. And conversation followed. ACTUAL CONVERSATION.
It was a win, so I decided to press on and practice something new for a future dinner or lunch date. For my next trick, “Mind vs. Straw!”
Props needed:
  • A paper wrapped straw
  • A salt shaker
This one I practiced at work with a straw from the local coffee place and one of those plastic salt shakers from the store. (None of my coworkers asked what I was doing in the kitchen, by the way. Odd.)
My straw didn’t have paper, so I rubbed it on my shirt. This trick is all about building up static electricity. So rub the straw, and then balance it on the top of the shaker. Now, you can get your finger close and “lead” the straw around without touching it. MAGIC.
You’ll see in the video that my finger actually was totally touching the straw, but it still looks pretty cool.
Important side note: I was also able to create static by rubbing a plastic straw on my cat at home. Posey (the cat) has almost forgiven me, but I would definitely suggest you stick with rubbing your straw on paper or a shirt unless you want to see this face.
If coin tricks, card tricks, or grossing people out with fake chewed gum are more up your alley, there is plenty for you in Prankster Magic.
While a good magician never reveals her secrets, a Prankster always should! It’s just as fun to show them how you did it as to do the trick in the first place. Take my husband Shane, who I’ve been practicing on. He thinks I’m hilarious.
What? We were out of bananas.

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