The Error in Raising Your Hand

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At events, I always raised my hand. I hoped to be picked, to become somebody. I was picked once, and I did become somebody. And that was the last time I raised my hand. “Come on, we’ll be late!” my mom called out to me. My seven year old self was wrapped up in Legos, meticulously making a base for my minifigures. I reluctantly turned away and got into the car. The drive to my grandparents house was long, the monotony broken only by my parents conversation. We meet up with them and quickly left for the library.


When we got to the library, I looked for a second at the statue sitting on a bench, reading. I always looked at it trying to learn what it was reading, and whether the statue was enjoying it. We can’t stop for long though, and have to go in. We walk to the theater, sit down, and wait. I’m silent though not still, kicking the sit in front of me. My family, as always, is in constant conversation until the lights dim. A slight, pleasant shiver goes down my spine.


The magician walks onstage, surprisingly not wearing the traditional magician top hat and tuxedo. On stage, there's a sea chest, obviously holding all the materials he needs. There’s also a table, covered with a long tablecloth. He starts doing simple magic tricks, when suddenly he loudly says “look!”. Everyone turns to look and there are multiple white doves flying around the theater! As the crowd turns back to the stage, we collectively realize that the doves were just a diversion for the magicians next trick.


It seemed like the magic would last forever as he performed more and more tricks. He startes doing tricks with paper now, folding it simply and creating complex patterns and chains. “For this one, I need a bit of help. Any volunteers?” he says to the crowd at large. I, as I always did, raise my hand. Maybe I’ll get lucky, and finally get picked. That would be awesome, my unrealistic self says. “That young gentleman there, come on up” says the magician. He was pointing at me. With a stupidly large grin on my face, I get up and walk to the stage. I nervously climbed the steps to the stage, playing with the hem of my shirt. As I get up on stage, he hands me a piece of brightly colored paper. “Now, fold the paper like so” he said, and demonstrated how I should fold it. “Now again. It doesn’t matter what direction you do it”. He folds it many more times until it was quite small. He put it in his mouth, and instead of soggy paper, pulls a multi colored paper origami chain out. The audience applauded this trickery, and the magician indicated for me to try it. I somehow, however illogically, expected mine to turn out like his. It wasn’t. It is the same as the wad of paper I had before. I feel my cheeks warming almost instantly because I must have done it wrong. I don’t know what to do with it and the first thing that comes into my mind is to give it to him. With my cheeks still aflame I shove it into his hands and he looks at it. He gives me a puzzled look then tosses the paper to the corner of the stage. The janitor will doubtless pick it up later. The thought shames me even more. “Thank you for helping me, young man” the magician says. “Here, for doing such a good job, this beautiful paper chain is yours”. I know that he is lying. I did a terrible job, and my face is still burning like a beacon. In a dreamlike state I accept the paper chain and walk back to my family, my mind consumed with the flames of shame.






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