Went to the Magic Castle last night. If you haven’t been and you live in L.A., I highly recommend it. It’s sort of a combination of Disney’s Haunted house, Chuck E Cheese, and a bordello. With card tricks, of course.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Really, I just wanted to vent. Getting older isn’t easy. It stings when your daughter asks your age, you tell her, and she says “Wow! That’s a really big number!” But what sucks more? Is being out at the Magic Castle, having a fine time, feeling age-appropriately hot in your lipstick, stiletto boots, and dress-code mandated skirt, chatting and laughing with the group of smart, dapper folks you came with, when suddenly–
A group of what are probably tourists approach. They are smiling broadly, looking both eager and shy. They are nudging each other. Finally one of them, a woman in what is probably her old prom dress, summons the courage to approach.
“Excuse me,” she says, wide-eyed with excitement, “but my friends are making me ask–”
“Yes?” you say, bemusedly.
“Are you–I mean, aren’t you–the actress from ‘Mork and Mindy?'”
Your smile becomes a rictus. “Excuse me?”
The group, oblivious, bobs their heads knowingly. The spokeswoman mews. “You are! I knew it!”
“Did you say Mork and Mindy? Like, Nanoo Nanoo?”
Your left hand goes out, palm up, almost imploring. “But that would make me, like, seventy.”
A beat. Abracadabra. Five tourists’ smiles vanish before your eyes.
One of them, a man in a suit, steps forward. He clears his throat and grins nervously. “I told her you were probably her granddaughter. I told her. ” Shaking his head, he turns to the woman and shakes his finger. “I told you.”
You buy it not at all. “Do I look that old?” You ask the group. “Mork and Mindy old? Do I? Do I?”
At that moment, thank God, the doors to your theater open. A handsome woman emerges, all black dress and slick hair. “Step this way, please!” she says firmly. “The show will begin in five minutes.”
As you take your seat your interlocutors flee to a different part of the theater. You won’t see them again, but you will hear the suited man call out many times during the show. He is an avid fan of the performer.
“Wonderful!” he will shout, as tricks unfold and natural laws are bent. “Bravo! Warlock!”
And the magic is pretty impressive. Still and all, you are left cold. You would, in all frankness, have traded the whole show to make your last conversation disappear. Into a deep, dark hat, preferably. Rabbit optional.
But that kind of magic doesn’t happen at the Castle. Or so it seems. Because the next day? Back in your regular life? You’re still feeling more than a bit witchy.