Magic at the dentist

Daydreaming at the dentist

This isn’t about roaming a dentist office, going from exam room to exam room doing card tricks for people while they get a root canal. Although, I’ve had worse ideas.

This is about where magic ideas can come from.

I’ve been working on a consulting project, something that neither I nor the clients have done before, and we finally figured out how things should look. Despite having a plan, I couldn’t help but keep thinking of ways to make things more unique and, ultimately, more magical. The day after our last meeting, I was at the dentist.

“Just lean back a little, turn your head a little to the left.”

I just set my mind to “magic meditation” mode, basically just visualizing this trick as a distraction from the sound of whatever it was scraping along my back teeth. As I stared into where the wall meets the ceiling I got a flash of something else I could add to make it look better. Cool.

“It looks like you brush too hard, try to use a softer toothbrush from now on. Now turn a little to the right.”

“Uh-kah” I sort of muttered, with that vacuum thing hooked on to my cheek.

I turned towards the other corner of the room. The outside of my eyes were staring at crown moulding, while the inside of my eyes kept looking at this trick. Then I realized we had problem. Not a big problem, just an aesthetic one, easy to fix.

The chair started to tilt back up and the hygienist said, “Now just have a quick rinse, you can hit the button closest to…” In the middle of telling me how to fill the little cup, her voice trailed off. There were 2 buttons, so which one was it? The one closest to me? Or the one closest to the cup? I hit the wrong one. It was fine, but it was the wrong one. The buttons were identical, and had no markings. So if you didn’t know, it was just a 50/50 guess.

After my quick rinse I leaned back and went back to my “magic-tation” (trademark, copyright, patent pending) while still thinking about the two identical buttons with different functions. Then it dawned on me, it was a matter of focus and perspective. She sees those buttons every day. Actually at this point, she probably doesn’t even see them anymore. She knows that room like the back of her hand and probably doesn’t even need to look to operate most of the equipment. It’s second nature. But to me, it was foreign. I’m not even sure I’d ever even been allowed to hit one of those buttons before.

Ok, back to magic. An added bonus of going to the dentist is that it gives you a few minutes to literally lie back and do nothing but think, which is what happened here. I started thinking about whether or not there were aspects of this trick that I was so familiar with that it no longer registered. If I changed my focus and perspective a little, would there be something the audience would appreciate seeing, even though I may have stopped “seeing” it a long time ago?

There was, and I might be onto something. If I take a small, possibly unnoticeable part of this trick and highlight, I might have something more magical on my hands.

I also got a softer toothbrush.

Contact Derrin to learn more about magical thinking.