A movie directed by Tom Holland, starring Luke Edwards, Fred Savage, Beau Bridges, Wendy Phillips, and Dea McIllister. About a little kid who becomes mildly autistic when his sister (who is his best friend) dies. Is brought back to the land of the living by (what else?) Nintendo games. The autistic kid is a whiz at hand-eye coordination, and so his half brother (Fred Savage) kidnaps him and takes him to Southern California to the Nintendo World Con (or something) where they unveil Super Mario Bros. 3.

If, like me, you happen to have a friend who's a Wizard, or has extraordinary powers of ESP, the best way to make use of his or her talent is to get your paranormal pal to help you impress your friends or dinner guests by being your all-seeing, all-knowing assistant in a simple but quietly charming magical trick, known to those in the know as "The Wizard".

In order to win the admiration you crave, you will need:

  • 1 deck of cards
  • 1 friend or dinner guest. For maximum effect, you might like to pick out a craven doubter.
  • 1 telephone
  • At least 1 Wizard. It's important the you have the modern sort of Wizard who owns a telephone, as you'll be calling him in a moment. You might like to have a back-up wizard as well, in case your primary Wizard is unavailable.
Once you've assembled all your equipment - barring the Wizard, of course, who is elsewhere, and with any luck not on the phone to his mum when you call him - ask a heathen unbeliever in the gathering to pick a card, any card, in the manner of any common or garden magic trick, and ask him to place it face up in the middle of the table, or in the middle of the room, or any convenient place for all to see. If you are feeling bold enough you could explain that the Wizard will be able to sense it more clearly that way.

Then, locate your phone, and give the Wizard a call. You'd better be hoping the line's free at this point, or know more than one Wizard, lest the trick quickly fall flat. When the phone is answered, you ask to speak to the Wizard, you agree to hold for a moment, and you pass the phone to the card picker.

And then watch, and enjoy your triumph, as the Wizard tells your friend which card he picked. You may wish to bask in your glory.

Your friends and guests may ask you to explain this wondrous feat. I leave it up to you to decide whether to bring them into the great tree of knowledge, but if you do, and you fear that the mystical truth will be too much for them to bear, you could offer them this simple explanation. Let's say your friend picked the nine of Diamonds.

When the wizard answers the phone (and it better be the Wizard, not the wizard's secretary or girlfriend), someone tapping the line would hear the following exchange:

You: Can I speak to the wizard please?
Wizard: Clubs...Hearts...Diamonds...
You: That's fine, I'll hold.
Wizard: Ace...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...
You: Thank you
the line is briefly silent
Mr Sceptic: Hello?
Wizard: Hello, this is the wizard here. My infinite wisdom tells me that your card is the nine of diamonds.
Mr Sceptic drops the phone, the line goes dead, as the wizard hangs up and returns to watching The Weakest Link

You might know hammier Wizards than I do, in which case they may have a more elaborate spiel to get through before announcing the card.

Before I leave, I am behooved to point out a crucial, immutable fact of life, and that is that Wizards must be completely and utterly reliable. If you become a Wizard, you must always, and I mean always, perform the trick. Failure is not an option. Your friend has placed a great deal of trust in you, and you must not disappoint.

I'll give you an example of the dedication necessary to be a good wizard. A friend's father, seeking kudos, phoned a relible Wizard he knew in order to perform this trick. Sadly, the Wizard was, at the time, experiencing severe marital breakdown. Nevertheless, he was alert to his responsibilities, and duly called the correct card, amid the cacophony of a 12-piece crockery set smashing against his nearby kitchen walls.

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