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Dad's Bag of Tricks

With Father's Day approaching, I've been doing some thinking about what gift I should get for my dad this year. I have to be honest here, I'm terrible at picking out gifts for people. It's not that I don't know what sort of things the people I'm buying for like, because I usually do. It's like I get into a store to pick out a gift and a little cartoon devil pops up on my shoulder and starts saying things like, "Get him that hot beard and mustache trimmer!" and, even though my father hasn't had a beard or a mustache in all the years I've been alive, that's what I'll buy him. So naturally, I usually try to get a second opinion from my wife before I actually spend money on a gift for someone.

We were discussing what gift to get for Dad just last night, in fact. She quickly vetoed the aforementioned trimmer ("Do you think he's planning to grow a mustache to celebrate his retirement?") as well as a digital meat thermometer and a three-cd collection of the best folk songs from the 60s and 70s. Then she hit upon the perfect idea. "Why don't you get him something that will remind him of stuff you used to do together?" A few minutes later, I had chosen his gift.

Like most kids, at the age of seven I was convinced that my dad knew how to do anything. He could tie a million different knots, play a harmonica and, best of all, he could do magic. He could make a quarter disappear from his hand and reappear on the end of your nose, he could tell you what card you'd picked every time, and would even occasionally pull off his own thumb. I wanted more than anything to do magic too and, on my eighth birthday, my dad made my dreams come true when he presented me with my very own deluxe set of magic tricks. That very night, I wowed my family with amazing acts of balloon-piercing, coin-vanishing, and secret number guessing. Over the next few years, my dad would take me to local magic stores and wait patiently while I had the clerks demonstrate dozens of illusions before selecting the perfect one. He also endured endless after-dinner magic shows and still managed to act amazed when the balloon didn't pop, the coin vanished, and I guessed the secret number.

It was due partly to my father's early encouragement of my magical interests that I decided to pursue a career in the performing arts, so this year I've decided to give him a little reminder of all the time we spent together looking at and practicing magic tricks. The Flint Flasher Kit (#MGK04) reminds me a lot of the illusions we used to pick up at the magic store. It has all of the necessary ingredients and instructions to create a cool-looking effect, in an attractive clear acrylic storage case. Using just a pinch of Flash Cotton and a sprinkle of Electric Sparkle Additive, the performer can create a surprising burst of sparks from his hand, and just by using a sheet of paper from a Flash Pad (#FP03) the effect can be changed to a brilliant jet of flame.

Even though it's been a few years since he's pulled off his thumb for anyone, I suspect Dad will enjoy the Flint Flasher Kit. I made sure to thank my wife for her advice, by promising to ask for help when I pick out her anniversary gift this year. I guess the 40-piece woodburning set I bought for her last year wasn't as great a gift as I'd hoped. 


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