I have a buddy named James who is very good at doing close up magic. He’s particularly good with this one sleight-of-hand card trick that starts by asking the naïve foil to pick a single card from the 52 and sign his or her name on it with a black sharpie. He proceeds to lose that person’s card into the deck and attempt to find it again. After shuffling, dicing, and chopping, he breaks the deck at some arbitrary place in the center and reveals a card.

Is this it?


Is this it?


Hmm . . .

More drama . . . James turns the deck, looking at their faces, and riffles through it as though he knew where it was, but suddenly, it wasn’t where it was suppose to be.

This one?


Although we have completely lost sight of the card, we understand that somehow, he has not. If he’s entertaining a particularly naïve individual, they may give a nervous chuckle, such as to empathize with the embarrassment of the magician whose trick is fumbling.

To be brief, the foil seems more amused that concerned with the whole process: is he wearing long sleeves, etc. The way it ends is that ultimately the card is folded into fourths and although he’s holding both of your hands with both of his hands, the card you’ve signed your name onto comes slipping out of his mouth from between his lips quite dramatically.

Usually, however, we are not so deceived by the game so as to think that he has truly lost the card. We remain quite sure, although skeptical of how it will end, that he will in fact find our card. Still, quite often we forget that the trick is on us, and we entertain it such that we always want to see another one.

It’s season finale time on television and it rivets many of us at the same time it torments us. We remember, year after year, that the writers will never fail to leave us on a cliffhanger. If all of the loose ends were resolved, we’d lose our sense of wonder and intrigue. Although we understand that throughout the whole season, the writers are fully cognoscente of the outcome (eventually), and yet we will be left to our stupor for months.

What’s the worst thing to have come from the recent writer’s strike? Read more.