I used to do event planning and would attend many trade shows to meet prospective clients, but just as importantly, to meet new vendors. If you’ve never been to one of these trade shows, picture a huge hotel ballroom with rows and rows and rows of booths full of everything from cakes and flowers to event venues to Yiddish poets and strolling minstrels.
The person that was supposed to go with me bailed at the last-minute, so my wife filled in to help me out running the booth. It wasn’t a big setup, but there was a huge crowd and one person can easily get overwhelmed by it. We got set up and were meeting a ton of people – everything was going great…
All of a sudden, I see this really tall glimmer of red sparkles through the crowd…The crowd parts and then this magician struts up to our booth in a bright red sparkly jacket and top hat. He was covered in sparkles and definitely not blending subtlety into the crowd. I’ve dealt with a lot of entertainers, so I was used to “eccentric” but I’ve seen showgirls with less razzle-dazzle than this guy…He stepped up to me and thrust out his hand to present his business card, but I was so distracted by all the sparkles that I dropped his card on the ground.
I bent down to pick it up and was on one knee facing the floor to see where the card landed so that I could pick it up. All of a sudden I hear the magician scream “Huzzah!!!” which caught me off guard and I looked up to see what had happened…
Once he thrust the card at me, he reached back in his waistcoat where a dove was waiting (I get it you’re a magician, but who keeps a bird in his pants? That’s just disgusting and weird!) and then he thrust that bird forward. I guess it was supposed to be impressive or a trick to be like “WOW, here’s a bird.” That was the intention anyway – what happened was a different story altogether.
I heard him scream “Huzzah!” and thrust my head up to see why this wacko was screaming only to have him and the dove connect with my face – He punched me right in the eye with that bird! HE PUNCHED ME RIGHT IN THE EYE WITH THE BIRD! I was so taken off guard and frankly, almost blinded by that filthy beak, that I toppled backwards onto the floor screaming like a lunatic “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY WOULD YOU PUNCH ME IN THE EYE WITH THAT FILTHY BIRD? WHO DOES THAT? WHY WAS IT IN YOUR PANTS?”
At this point, with me screaming at the top of my lungs and sprawled out on the floor of our booth, you’d think that at least someone would at the very least ask if I was OK…Not there…there were tons of people staring at the commotion asking if the bird was OK, saying “Oh, that poor bird” as if I wasn’t the victim here. Where was the magician you might ask? He was also on the ground – not checking if I was OK, but trying to see if the God damn bird was OK…that sweaty thing was hobbling around cooing in some sort of fowl distress code cocking it’s head from side to side like Stevie Wonder. Magic Mike (not the Magician’s real name) was like “It’s OK; you’re OK…It’s OK.” To the bird, mind you, not to me…Granted, the bird was probably brain-dead because it took a pounding to the head like it was fighting Iron Mike Tyson!
I was trying to remember that I was in a work setting and regain composure, but I had just been the victim of a drive by shooting courtesy of that filthy foul assassin and was legitimately almost blinded! And did I mention that filthy bird touched my face? I got up and made a run for the bathroom to wash myself and Magic Mike was like “Hey, you forgot my card…” Obviously, I got your number buddy and even if he was the best magician in the world I could never call him after that. Needless to say I spent the next twenty minutes scrubbing my face in the hotel bathroom sink…My face was red and irritated and I had to go to the Front Desk to get a real bar of soap because that dispenser soap just wasn’t cutting it.
After I finally emerged, pretending nothing had happened and hoping there weren’t any other magicians positioned to attack or member of PETA mobilizing, it was pretty hard to be professional. As is to be expected when one has just been assaulted, I was a little jittery. My wife was standing by the whole time – laughing at me really – thinking “who else would that ever happen to?”… Another day at the mill for me though…Note to all trade show exhibitors: helmets are not crazy – better to be safe than sorry.