His hands were so cramped up, they were not in a natural state. He wasn't old or handicapped. He was British, that was his only handicap. It was over developed muscles and an ability to hold things in his palms so no one knew they were there - he was respected as one of the greatest manipulators of his generation, and when videos were first bring produced, his was the very first one made before anyone less.
Derrick Dingle was his name. When I met him he was already a legend in his early 30's. He lectured and performed for magicians all over the world, showing them tricks of the trade, his creations, his routines and skills that few would ever take the time to learn.
It wasn't simply his skill at one or two methods, but his skill with so many different types of items including cards, coins, silks, ropes, cigarettes, matches, lighters, and gimmick things one doesn't always see. He was a force.
I had met many of the top magicians of this generation. Privileged to see them, hang out with them, be invite to meals with them. My father was one of them, revered as a great mind and creator of many things they all performed regularly and the pioneer of many tricks that still live on today as the great classics of magic and balloon art. We would be invited to hospitality rooms at all the magic conventions and my father would do for them and others would do for my father.
I remember my father would tell a story of how once a woman was impressed by the muscle of my father's right thumb, over developed from finger-flicking for so many years. I saw my father's hands every day, and they didn't appear to be over developed in any way - not like a body builder or weight lifter is BIG in the arms and shoulders and chest. However, this image of muscles in the hands was always in my mind after hearing the story so many times. when I met Derrick Dingle and i was the volunteer who touched his hands to see if there was anything hidden in his palm down hands. I felt nothing there. he then proceeded to do magic on a skill level I had never witnessed that close before.
Now this all might sound like it was positive and good, but the truth is, I lived amongst the greats and I never tried to compete. They were out of my reach. they had 20, 30, 40, 50 years of practice and perfection above me. How could I ever achieve that kind of perfection and skill level? these were the masters. the Writers, the people boys like me looked up to … but I never felt I could become one. They were way to advanced for me to ever catch up to.
Let me explain a detail here. My father at the young age of 23 wrote a rope routine, inventing multiple moves to achieve the result he wanted. This rope routine, like a chess game had a beginning, middle and end perfectly set to a performance rhythm that made the routine successful in the hands of hundreds, probably thousands of other magicians for the last 70 years. His rope routine is considered the foundation for perhaps 90% of the rope tricks any magician performs today. My father also created card routines, was the writer of the first two balloon books of any note that began the balloon sculpting revolution in the early 70's and far more. Everyone from David Copperfield to less known magicians have performed my father's routines or taken his books and make the tricks their own variations.
Now how does one become the son of Einstein and shake the world in Physics? How does the son of Vincent Van Gough or Picasso shake the world?
Well, I am now taking writing and improv classes to help me break out of that mold i put myself into - and now I realize that I was stagnating myself all along. Recently, I saw a magic lecture by a young and very talented magician. Chriss Randall. I also saw lectures by Jeff mcBride, Paul Draper, Tom Ogden and others. I am breaking out. I am going to force myself to grow.