A while back, a new comment popped up on YouTube under my appearance on «Penn & Teller: Fool Us». The commenter was merely wondering exactly what is up with my hands. Seeing as there were different aspects to address (which we’ll get to), I thought answering them on YouTube would be sort of a hassle. Therefore, this post! If you haven’t yet, allow yourself to check out my performance in which I tried to fool two of the greatest magicians alive today.
Most of the comments on this video have been extremely kind. If you check out the comments you’ll see that I actually read almost all the comments, and try to interact with the commenters by liking what they write. The comment that made me want to write this very blog post was no exception. It was quite kind, and matter-of-factly, which I appreciate. Here it is:
First of all, I sincerely think that by saying they (yes, neutral pronoun) are trying not to be insensitive they succeed in just that. I’m used to getting these questions. When a question is asked in such a way as above, I do not take any offense. The reason for that is that it’s clear they don’t mean to be unkind, rude, or whatever, but rather are curious.
I sort of get it. What happened? Also, why in the world would anyone choose magic (and music!) if they have such a challenge?
And now: a small (and magical?) digression
A thing I find interesting: On the AMAZING podcast, Abracababble, the hosts, Matt Donnelly and RJ, discuss all the Fool Us appearances. When hearing them discussing my act, something occurred to me. RJ, the co-host, had done exactly what many of my spectators had: He hadn’t noticed. Noticed what? Well, that there’s something strange going on with my fingers. I do find that interesting, and honestly also a little comforting. My hope is that part of the reason for not noticing is that the magic works well regardless. Magic (and music) are the arts I want to communicate, and I want it to be as great as possible. Not «in spite of» anything. Well, anyway.
You noticed. At least now you did. That’s why you’re still reading. It seems that this person noticed as well:
Yeah. Tupac. So anyway, what’s up?
Card magic, syndactyly, sleight of hand, and symphalangism
In short, the main key word is syndactyly. A secondary keyword is symphalangism. Syndactyly means that two or more digits are fused together at birth. For me, that was the third and fourth finger on both hands. They were, as is common, separated long before I remember. As for symphalangism, it means that joints are fused together. Thus, the finger can be without one or more joint(s).
There you go. Now, to paraphrase Penn & Teller in their show «Bullshit!»: And then there is, ahem, guy:
Well, I’m sorry you feel that way?
The above comment is one of quite a few. However, to reduce load time on this entry I thought you, dear reader, should be spared having to review them all. Should it be dignified with a response? I think yes and no.
The reason for «no» is, I think, obvious.
The reason for «yes»: as I briefly touched on above, I have worked more or less my entire life to become the professional, full-time magician, musician, and artist that I am today. What I’ve accomplished is neither due to nor in spite of my hands being somewhat abnormal. It’s only due to this: hard work, dedication, and love for the craft. No more, no less.
Now, as an adult who has managed to have a career in the arts, such comments are really not that bothersome. However, my heart is still crying a little. It is crying for the kid (or adult) who perhaps doesn’t dare stepping in front of people or maybe at all do what they love, simply because they don’t consider themself «perfect» in a normative way. They shouldn’t have to be afraid to perform and express their art.