My school has a little magazine thing called the Visual Opinion which is pretty neat. I'd been meaning to write some stuff and get it published, so when I heard that they were doing a new issue based around the concept of "Magic" I knew I wanted to do something. It was very open ended, but I knew I wanted to write something, rather than just do artwork and submit it.|
My submission came out a little heavier than one might initially think when prompted with the idea of "Magic", but I had gone through a series of concepts (one article was going to be a silly made up story about Magic Johnson) before I finally settled on something that I felt was important to me. It is kinda an insider sort of thing, and if live in the NYC area hopefully you'll get it, maybe not, but I think it's important enough even if you don't.
Enough of this, here's my submission, let's hope they print it (and pay me).
Demise has a lot to do with the idea of magic, or at least I think so. Much in the same way that death could never exist without life, magic could never exist without its grand finale. The two work to balance each other out, they have a particular sort of checks and balances system intact; the magic keeps us in our seats, and the finale sends us home. And while all things may in fact come to an end, the sense of magic, of wonder, of a constant source of amusement and happiness seems to outweigh the fact that after the finale, what we have just witnessed is now over. We are left with the memories of what has come to pass, and the show itself is seemingly dead and gone, however, the magic we have witnessed is never truly taken away from us. Even if we somehow figure out exactly what the trick was, or how we’d been had, we never forget how downright enthralled we were at an earlier time when we truly believed we were seeing something magnificent.
The one thing we all tend to forget in this world, is that everything going on outside our brains is going on, with or without us. We have the ability to interact with the people and things that surround us, but more often than not, we are distracted by the thoughts in our very own head. These thoughts reminds us of where we are walking to, how bad our hair looks on this particular day, which excuse we will use to explain why we are fifteen minutes late to class, or when the last time we got laid was. In doing so, we miss what goes on around us. We are so filled with worries of failure and demise, that we become engrossed in our own little world of narrow thinking.
This is the case so much so with myself, that it is the rare occasions in which I am taken out of my own little world, that I consider magic. It is the small things that people do, to penetrate deep through our barricade of a brain that makes us realize that, not only are we are here, but we are here now, constantly influencing and affecting those around us. This concept is almost too big for us to actually deal with, which forces ourselves once again back into our interior, and we are alone again. But I have seen magic. I know it’s there, it happens when someone goes above and beyond. Notices something you never expected they would notice, or when someone dedicates their life to a craft, with passion and dedication that I could only wish to possess. I am not writing this more-than-just-vaguely-unspecific-rant-about-life-and-death in despair, but rather I am writing this to praise the fact that such magic moments exist in our daily lives, and I hope to maybe help you notice one in your own.
You might be familiar with the Green Market Peeler. If you’ve ever found yourself shopping for fresh produce on the weekend in Union Square, chances are you already know who I am talking about. You couldn’t help but notice this man. In a three piece suit squatting on a small seat on the ground, he peeled carrots and potatoes with a passion no one had ever seen before. He projected his voice to the point that it seemed to fill the entire northwest corner of Union Square, and he drew you in like moths to a streetlight. I saw him each and every time I frequented the Green Market, and began to pick up on his routine which consisted of polite jokes, sincerity, and the upmost of showmanship. There was no choice but to love him, he even included a joke about underhanded politicians. His name was Joe Ades, and on February 2nd, 2009 he passed away. I never got a chance to buy one of his peelers, and I wish I had been able to. Unfortunately, I was so caught up in whatever thoughts I may have been having on any one of those many times I had passed him, that I failed to ever stop and see his true magic take place.
He was passionate about his product, and sold it in a way that cannot be taught. If he tried to sell me canned oxygen (shame on you Duane Reade) I probably would have bought his entire supply. He knew the ins and outs of this little peeler just as much as he did his own routine to sell it. Normally when someone looks at you and tells you “this is not a trick” your first instinct is to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction, but with Joe Ades, you believed him, and you wanted him to be your grandpa or life mentor or have him be your guide the next time you go on a “spirit quest”. Not only were you convinced that you would never need to buy another god damned potato peeler in your life, but you also began to suspect that your friends would probably love you more if you gave them one. And all the while, it didn’t once feel evil. It wasn’t like getting yelled at by Billy Mays, or even looked down on upon (what intelligent person would ever buy a Snuggie?) but rather; this kind elder gentleman seemed to be taking his own time to let you in on a secret that everyone else just hadn’t told you. It was something personal that he had, even with people he had never met, his own personal magic, that made him so great.
He is gone now, and there’s a good chance that no one will be able to fill the void that his death has left behind. What was once so constant to so many, the idea that if you go down to the market, he’ll be there, is now disrupted. In a way that is usually reserved for the passing of an estranged friend or relative, I only wish I could have spent more time with him. I wish I had a chance to talk to the man, maybe even buy a peeler, or five (for the price of four!), discuss with him where he buys his suits, and maybe even about the people that changed his life. People who had never even stopped to talk to this man, including myself, are now taking the time to remember the brilliance of this now departed great. Characters with truthful passion and heart are not only what make this city great, but life itself. He was one of the greats, he will be missed, and while the curtain may have dropped on his last performance, I think the magic lives on.
Death may be real and all too evident to us all, but life is magic. Life is our chance to perform, in any which way we should like to, to share and enjoy the company of others, and we all owe it to ourselves to get whisked away in it, to take the time to appreciate each other, to give and receive subtle acts of kindness, and appreciate and create things of beauty. We need to stop being so caught up in the bad, and in our own personal disasters, and learn to truly appreciate life for its beauty. So be good to each other, give a little and get a lot, and in the words of Joe Ades;
“You can all do this.”
Let me know what you think plz.