Listen. There’s a card trick you like. You look it up in a book, make sense of the weird diagrams, and get it all semi-straight in your head. You find a pack of cards, get them comfortable in your hand, make sense of the weird diagrams again – they seem to have changed now you have actual cards to hold – and then? Then you practice. Alone, on the sofa, by a window, perched in front of a mirror like you’re supposed to do it, you practice and practice. Finally you have the trick down. Everything’s so elegant. The joins are invisible. The flex and flow of the cards is deeply pleasing to your soul. Even the patter is coming along. It all works beautifully.
And then you try the trick in front of other people and it completely falls apart.
This is a good part of the appeal of Card Shark, I think. You learn, you practice, and then you perform – but suddenly the cards feel weird and seem to want to stick together. Suddenly there’s sweat where there shouldn’t be sweat. Suddenly you have two hands, as it were, and that feels like at least one too many. Disaster.